In trying to find something nice to say about what happened Thursday night for the Texas Rangers, here are the four best options:
• 1. Robbie Ross looked good for his first 20 pitches.
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• 2. The Rangers hadn’t been blown out all month.
• 3. The 39th and 40th pitchers they used this year look pretty good.
• 4. Hey, that game was played in just over three hours.
That’s how bad it was as the Texas Rangers opened a 10-game homestand with their sixth consecutive loss, a 10-2 dud against the Seattle Mariners.
The Rangers have lost by wider margins this year, and even in the second half, but this one was over as soon as Ross couldn’t get the third out of the second inning despite having seven cracks at it.
Seattle scored six times with two outs in the second after Ross had retired the first two batters on only six pitches, and the offense remained powerless as the Rangers lost for the 87th time this season.
“Just tough,” Ross said.
Not all that transpired over 3 hours, 2 minutes at Globe Life Park was bad. (And 3:02 was a miracle considering that the game was still in the third inning at 8:30 p.m.)
For instance, Spencer Patton worked two scoreless innings in his major league debut, and Lisalverto Bonilla provided some comic relief when his first big league pitch short-hopped past flat-footed catcher J.P. Arencibia and into plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s groin.
“He got hit in the knee cap, right?” manager Ron Washington said.
Elvis Andrus collected hits in his first three at-bats, and the Rangers had 10. But the first nine were all singles, and three double plays quickly stopped the offense in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Rougned Odor knocked a solo homer with two outs in the ninth.
But the Rangers needed much more at the plate as Ross struggled despite collecting the first five outs in a tidy 21 pitches. He worked around a leadoff single in the first, and disposed of Kyle Seager and Corey Hart to open the second before issuing back-to-back walks to Mariners batters Nos. 7-8, Chris Denorfia and Chris Taylor.
No. 9 hitter Jesus Sucre followed with an RBI single, and the rout was on as five more Mariners reached consecutively. Four were against Ross.
“He just couldn’t execute a pitch to get out of the inning,” Washington said. “He just lost his command. He just needed one pitch. One pitch.”
The short outing rates as another disappointment this season for Ross, who threw 43 pitches in the second inning. It could cost him another start, as the Rangers plan to drop their rotation from six pitchers to five after the off day Monday.
Ross (2-6) was coming off a start Saturday in which had worked five hitless innings at Houston.
“That’s the frustrating part,” Ross said. “Having an outing like I did in Houston and then having this happen doesn’t help. It’s one of those games where I look back and see what I could have done differently, and I can grow from it.”
Beginning with Patton, who followed an ineffective Jon Edwards and Michael Kirkman, the Mariners had only two hits after the third. One of them was a solo homer by Denorfia off Bonilla in the seventh.
But Bonilla and Patton, especially Patton, left a favorable impression after becoming the MLB-record 39th and 40th pitchers and MLB-record 62nd and 63rd players used by the Rangers this season.
“His 92-93 mph fastball looked like 96-97,” Washington said of Patton. “It’s got a little finish on it. He did show some composure. He looks like he can pitch a little bit.”
There’s the right answer on a night when little went right for the Rangers.