Grimm roughed up by Jays, Rangers’ bats frozen in 8-0 loss

Any chance the Texas Rangers had of winning Friday night was dashed in the fourth inning, when Justin Grimm surrendered four runs.

A one-run inning would have been enough for Toronto.

Sure, the Rangers had six more turns at the plate, but 90 more wouldn’t have helped an offense that has no punch and didn’t put up much of a fight for the fourth straight game and the 10th time this month.

Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer off Grimm in the fourth, and Mark Buehrle scattered four singles in seven scoreless innings as the Blue Jays rolled to an 8-0 victory at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers have lost a season-high four straight games and nine of their past 13, and they scored three or fewer runs for the 10th time in June. But they hit a new low in the stretch by getting shut out for the first time since May 21.

“We’re going to keep working,” manager Ron Washington said. “It’s just a matter of time. I wish I had the formula. But when you’re in one of these funks, you have to battle your way out of it.”

Grimm (5-5) pitched a career-high 7 2/3 innings, but the right-hander allowed seven runs after breezing through the first three innings on only one hit. Toronto, though, started the fourth with three straight, with Rasmus’ shot to right field serving as the capper.

J.P. Arencibia hit a solo homer two batters later.

The Blue Jays tallied single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth against Grimm, who has issued 19 runs in his past three starts and has seen his ERA shoot from 3.93 to 5.59.

“I’ve got to learn a little damage control,” he said. “That seems like the difference in the last couple outings. It gets to me, and it shows in the results.”

The lousy offense has taken the attention away from Grimm and fellow rookie Nick Tepesch, who has allowed 11 runs in his past two starts. The Rangers have won only one of his past eight starts.

But left-hander Martin Perez isn’t viewed as a guaranteed upgrade to the rotation, and Colby Lewis (triceps tendinitis) seems more likely to return in August than July. Matt Harrison (back) is shooting for August, but the Rangers aren’t sold that he will return at all.

“We have a young guy going out there, and he has to learn,” Washington said. “Right now he’s got to take the ball. All that he’s going through is experience, and he’s got to go through it to be able to make the adjustments that need to be made.”

Buerhle (3-4) had his best start of the season after getting a tough-luck no-decision last weekend in the 18-inning game between the teams. He worked quickly, as always, and Rangers hitters did their part to send him to his first win since May 27.

The only viable threat the Rangers had came in the second, when Adrian Beltre opened with a single and Nelson Cruz followed with a walk. But Geovany Soto flied out deep to right field, and Chris McGuiness bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Beltre was the only Rangers runner to advance as far as second base.

The most spark they showed otherwise was when shortstop Elvis Andrus was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing a called third strike.

“He said the wrong thing from the dugout,” Washington said.

Washington, though, said that he doesn’t see any poor body language, though Andrus’ ejection and a couple of helmet tosses might suggest otherwise.

There have been plenty of reasons of late for Rangers hitters to be miffed. Friday, when they scored two or fewer runs at home for the fourth straight game, was a new low.

“When you’re going through spells like we’re going through, they get a little upset,” Washington said. “If they didn’t get upset, that would mean they didn’t care.”

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