By now, the news shouldn’t come as a surprise to Texas Rangers fans.
Another day, another injury.
On Saturday night, it was starting pitcher Nick Tepesch, who left the game at the start of the seventh inning with soreness in his left knee.
Tepesch had put together the Rangers’ third consecutive quality start, a first for the club since June 27-29.
But he was trailing 3-1 when Nate Adcock replaced him in the seventh, and the Oakland Athletics quickly stretched their lead with two solo homers off the right-hander in his Rangers’ debut and evened the series with a 5-1 victory at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers fell to 4-18 in July. The last time Texas lost 18 games in a month was August 2008 when the team went 11-18.
Tepesch felt discomfort after planting his left leg on his third pitch of the seventh. Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn’t going to take any chances.
“It was just a freak thing out there on the mound on the one pitch he made,” Washington said.
Tepesch faced just one over the minimum through five innings, thanks to a second-inning double play that erased Oakland’s only hit. The only other base runner through five innings reached on a fielding error, but third baseman Adrian Beltre made an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field to end the inning.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on J.P. Arencibia’s run-scoring single through the left side. Jim Adduci started the two-out rally after singling to right and stealing second.
In the sixth, Eric Sogard doubled to left and moved to third with two outs on Coco Crisp’s groundout. This time, however, Tepesch couldn’t make the pitch as Oakland claimed a 3-1 lead in a span of four pitches. John Jaso’s two-run home run to right made it 2-1, and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a solo shot to right to make it 3-1.
“It was really good up until that homer,” said Tepesch, who dropped to 3-7. “I just made a bad pitch with a changeup. Not much I can do about that.”
Tepesch took the mound to start the seventh but left the game with a 2-1 count on Josh Donaldson. Adcock took over and evened the count on Donaldson with a slider for a strike before Donaldson drove a 96 mph fastball over the wall in right. After a strikeout, Josh Reddick homered off Adcock to right-center to make it 5-1.
Adcock is the 32nd pitcher used by the Rangers this year, a club record and tied for fourth most in major league history since 1901. With some late-season callups expected, the Rangers are poised to make a run at the all-time mark of 37 set by the 2002 San Diego Padres
Tepesch, who allowed three runs on four hits in six innings, will be evaluated.
“I’ve never really ever felt anything like that before,” said Tepesch, who struck out three and walked none. “Never had any problems with it. I don’t want to continue pitching if it’s going to affect how I’m pitching and affect the rest of the guys in the room.”
Oakland starter Sonny Gray (12-3) allowed a run in 6 2/3 innings and tied for the American League lead in wins.
“We didn’t get enough opportunities and didn’t cash in on those we got,” said Adduci, who had two of the Rangers’ seven hits. “You have to put yourselves in situations to get hits, but that’s part of the game.”
The Rangers have not won consecutive games in July. The last two-game win streak was June 27-28 against Minnesota.
“I didn’t even know that,” Adduci said. “It’s not something we think about. We try to make sure we’re ready to play every day and prepared. Tomorrow’s a new day.”