The starting pitcher was good enough. The offense did enough.
But that defense. Smh.
Somehow, Ron Washington wasn’t shaking his head. Maybe the steam that was billowing from his ears prevented it. Maybe the lousy defense left him in a catatonic state.
The defense left the Rangers on the wrong side of an 8-5 decision after the game had taken an unexpected turn in their favor. Just as unexpectedly, the Rangers committed three errors in two innings and handed Miami a victory.
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But the defense didn’t just falter in the seventh and eighth, when three of the Marlins’ four runs were unearned. The sixth inning wasn’t great, either.
And Washington, who has managed to stand tall in the face of injuries and the resulting losses by an undermanned team, had to schlep the load again after a fourth consecutive loss.
“In the end, we didn’t play the defense that we’re capable of playing,” Washington said. “We fight to get back in that game, and we shoot ourselves in the foot.”
The Rangers were down only 3-1 when Colby Lewis exited after five innings. He had kept his team in the game, and an inning later the Rangers took a 5-4 lead as the first four batters reached.
They all scored, beginning with a bases loaded walk to Brad Snyder, a sacrifice fly from Robinson Chirinos, a wild pitch by reliever Dan Jennings and an infield single by Rougned Odor in which Snyder scored from second base.
But it didn’t take long for it to come unraveled, starting moments later in the seventh when Odor booted what should have been an inning-ending double play.
“I didn’t expect it to bounce like that,” Odor said.
Instead, the inning continued. Neal Cotts was beaten again by another left-handed hitter, on a Christian Yelich liner off the glove of a leaping Adrian Beltre, and Miami scored twice to retake the lead at 6-5.
In the eighth, Tanner Scheppers, who just isn’t right yet, walked Giancarlo Stanton to open the inning and allowed a soft single to left by Casey McGehee. Michael Choice charged, and his throw to third to get Stanton got past Beltre.
Scheppers was there to back it up, but his throw to second to get McGehee went wide and into right field as Stanton scooted home. McGehee scored as the next batter, Garrett Jones, doubled.
Two innings, three errors, four runs — three unearned.
Those numbers jump by one when counting the lazy way center fielder Leonys Martin chased down a Yelich hit in the sixth that was stretched into a double. On the next play, Odor fielded an Ed Lucas grounder and tried to tag Yelich, missing twice and not recording an out.
Yelich would score on a two-out single for a 4-1 lead.
“We’ve just got to keep working. That’s all you can do,” Washington said. “Just being human. Physical mistakes. That’s it. You hit that ball to Odor again, he makes it. You hit that ball again to Michael Choice, he makes the right decision. We’ve just got to keep battling until we get it right.”
Don’t blame Lewis for the Rangers’ loss, though he again failed to see the seventh inning. He was lucky to finish the fifth after taking a two-out liner off his right biceps.
He again lamented getting beat on just one or two pitches, like the one Yelich drove to the base of the center-field wall for a double in the fourth and the first of his career-high four hits and the first two of his career-high four RBIs.
Stanton’s third-inning double also came on a pitch that Lewis regrets, after a pitch that plate umpire Dale Scott missed for a called strike three. The Marlins countered a 1-0 lead the Rangers had just taken two batters later.
But, ultimately and relative to what transpired Monday, Lewis’ effort was good enough. He pitched out of trouble in the first, did well to allow only the one run in the third, and struck out Jeff Mathis with his arm still stinging after Justin Bour’s liner caught him.
The defense late, though, let the Rangers down. Washington felt let down, too.
“I get a little upset,” Washington said. “But I don’t get frustrated because we’ve still got work to do and another game tomorrow. I’m not going to dwell on something that’s going to keep me from sleeping tonight and coming to the ballpark tomorrow and keep me from being the best I can be.”