Rangers follow rare win with a dud to end road trip

07/06/2014 3:33 PM

11/12/2014 6:38 PM

Move along, folks. No winning streak to see here.

Instead, the Texas Rangers are heading home with only one win on their seven-game road trip, which ended Sunday in familiar fashion at Citi Field.

The starting pitcher failed at his primary objective of keeping his team in the game. The Rangers were out of it by the end of the first inning.

The offense lacked the key hit with a runner in scoring position twice in the first seven innings before the middle of the order pounded out three runs in an eighth inning that started with the Rangers down six.

The result was an 8-4 loss to a New York Mets team that had lost seven of eight games entering their three-game set against the Rangers. The Mets’ offense hadn’t scored more than five runs in that stretch but scored 14 in their two victories over the Rangers.

As familiar as that sounds, so, too, do the words from the manger’s office. Ron Washington once again had the unenviable task of defending his struggling team and trying to stay positive as it lost for the 50th time this season one week before the All-Star break.

“We’ll keep fighting,” Washington said after the Rangers lost for the 15th time in their past 17 games. “We ended up doing that. We just couldn’t make up for the runs they put on the board.”

The manager and players seem to have accepted that there will be no 2014 turnaround. The road trip only cemented that after general manager Jon Daniels declared that the rest of his season will be used for developing players.

Two words that never work well together in the same season are “develop” and “contend,” but third baseman Adrian Beltre isn’t going to let the Rangers quit on the season.

“We cannot think about what happened today tomorrow,” Beltre said. “We know we can play better. I don’t think, for any reason, we think losing is OK.”

Washington was picking out the positives from the latest Nick Tepesch start. The right-hander, who hadn’t pitched since he worked 7 1/3 scoreless innings June 27, allowed five two-out runs in the first inning.

Three of those came on a homer by backup catcher Anthony Recker.

“It took six batters for him to get the out we needed,” Washington said. “If he had just found a way to make one pitch, it would have been a different story. Instead, they put five on the board.”

Tepesch allowed only one run over his next five innings, getting command of his pitches after being “all over the place” in the first. When he was ahead of hitters, he couldn’t put them away. When he was behind, he couldn’t get back in the at-bat.

“It was just a matter of making pitches, really,” Tepesch said.

His performance after the first was an effort that, in past seasons with past offenses, might have given the Rangers a chance.

Not this year.

The Rangers had only a Robinson Chirinos solo homer through seven innings before Alex Rios started the eighth with his first homer in 46 games and Leonys Martin added a two-run shot after Beltre had singled.

But the Rangers missed a chance in the first after Shin-Soo Choo started the game with a double. They also missed out in the seventh after Carlos Pena and Michael Choice were at the corners with one out.

Choo, though, struck out, and Elvis Andrus’ line drive to center was caught easily for the final out as the Rangers finished 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s nice that they’re starting to find the fences,” Washington said. “Now we’ve just got to start doing it with runners in scoring position.”

Washington was left to grasp for something positive after his struggling team lost yet again after winning Saturday for the only time on the road trip.

Move along, folks. No winning streak to see here.

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