Each time the Texas Rangers seem to hit bottom, they find their way to a new low.
That was the case Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Rangers trailed big before the relish hit the hot dog as the Angels piled on against starter Colby Lewis in the first three innings and won handily 15-6.
An announced crowd of 30,686 witnessed the Rangers allow eight or more runs for a club-record fifth consecutive game as Texas lost its fifth straight and 11th of its past 12. The injury-plagued team is 1-9 so far in July with three more games remaining before the much-needed All-Star break.
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The display was too much for manager Ron Washington, who called a team meeting after the game that delayed his postgame press conference by more than 35 minutes.
“There wasn’t anything in particular,” Washington said. “Tonight, I don’t think there was anything we could do. For three innings they pounded us. I think I needed to remind them of some things, and I called a meeting and did that.”
Before Lewis left after 2 1/3 innings, he had surrendered a Rangers’ record 13 runs (11 earned) on 13 hits, as many hits as he had allowed in his previous two starts combined.
But it wasn’t just Lewis’ inability to retire hitters. His defense did him no favors either.
Second baseman Adam Rosales’ throw to third on Kole Calhoun’s triple to open the game bounced into the stands, allowing Calhoun to trot home with the first of four first-inning Angels runs. After singles by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton ripped the first of his three doubles to right field to make it 2-0. The Angels added two more runs on a groundout and a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning, as rookie Jake Smolinski continued to sizzle with a two-run double. But the Angels continued to punish Lewis, adding six more runs in the second after batting around, including four consecutive hits to start the inning.
Even when outs were there to be made, the defense faltered. In the second inning, shortstop Elvis Andrus was under a pop-up in foul territory, but failed to make the catch. Alex Rios dropped a deep fly from Pujols at the wall, allowing another run to score as the Angels built a 10-2 lead after two innings.
But the Angels didn’t stop pounding. Hank Conger reached on an infield single, Calhoun collected his third hit of the night in the third (to go along with his double and triple) before Mike Trout homered to dead center to make it 13-2 and end Lewis’ night.
Angels starter Hector Santiago, who entered the game winless, improved to 1-7 after holding the Rangers to four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings.
Catcher Chris Gimenez became the Rangers’ second position player to pitch this season, joining Mitch Moreland. Gimenez threw a perfect ninth to help save some bullpen arms.
Lewis said he felt his location was good, but he never had the “opportunity to get ahead of batters. It happened so quick. First two pitches it was said and done.”
“I’ve got to get outs. I have to do my job. Plain and simple,” Lewis said.
“ ... We don’t lose here. We have to make changes and it all starts in this clubhouse.”
The Rangers scored twice in the bottom of the ninth, including an RBI double from Smolinski, who continues to be one of the Rangers’ bright spots. He went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. He is 8 for 14 with three doubles and four RBIs since being called up Monday.