Rangers starting pitchers still winless in June; offense silent again

Through all the dreadful pitching years, through all the makeshift rotations, the Texas Rangers had never seen a rotation experience what it's going through this year.

Sure, the offense deserves its fair share of blame in the matter, but a Rangers starter has not won this month 17 games into it.

It would seem as though one of their starters, who have posted six quality starts in June, would at least luck into a win. But luck isn’t on the Rangers’ side for the time being, especially with the offense struggling to score runs.

Yu Darvish couldn’t end what can only be described as a freaky streak, as the Athletics homered twice off him and Jarrod Parker shut down the Rangers in a 6-2 victory on Tuesday.

“Tonight Yu wasn’t bad, but Parker was better,” manager Ron Washington said. “We just went through this spell where we couldn’t score runs, so we’ll keep battling.”

The Rangers have lost 10 of their last 13, and couldn’t win consecutive games for the first time since late May on a night Ian Kinsler played through three stitches.

With the Rangers trailing 3-0 going into the third, they showed some life. Leonys Martin led off with a single to center and stole second ahead of Kinsler drawing a walk.

Jurickson Profar pushed the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, and both scored on a single by A.J. Pierzynski. On a play at the plate, though, Kinsler took a shot square off the chin and suffered a cut on his jaw after hitting A’s catcher John Jaso’s facemask.

Kinsler received three stitches between innings, cleared a concussion test and stayed in the game after an injury delay. Kinsler didn’t say much about the incident, saying he had “no idea” how it happened. Regardless, his gritty effort was overshadowed in the loss.

The A’s extended their lead to 5-2 the next half inning with two more runs off Darvish. They scored them on a wild pitch and an error by Lance Berkman. They scored two of their first three runs on homers by Brandon Moss and Jaso, both off fastballs thrown by Darvish.

“I wasn’t dissatisfied with those pitches,” Darvish said of the home run balls. “They squared off really good pitches.”

Darvish retired the final five batters he faced, but exited with the Rangers down by three. The five runs are the most he’s allowed this season, although only four were earned. Darvish hasn’t won since May 16, and the Rangers have lost five of his past six starts.

He, along with the rest of the rotation, simply hasn’t gotten much support from the offense that struggled once again, matching their season low with three hits.

“I didn’t feel that I pitched badly, but I think I gave up runs too easily,” Darvish said.

Parker, who is having a strong June, minimized damage and worked out of jams all night. The Rangers had base runners the first four innings, but capitalized only in the third inning on Pierzynski’s two-run single.

Parker then retired 10 straight before hitting Craig Gentry with a pitch with two outs in the seventh. But he got out of that inning and the A’s bullpen finished it off with two perfect innings.

“I thought we started pretty good, but after that third inning he shut it down,” Nelson Cruz said. “No doubt the offense has been the problem.”