Texas Rangers

Rangers watch chances to gain ground slip away

Griffin not pleased after short outing vs. Yankees

Texas Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin didn't have much to say after allowing five runs in three innings, but his tone said plenty (video by Jeff Wilson).
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Texas Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin didn't have much to say after allowing five runs in three innings, but his tone said plenty (video by Jeff Wilson).

On the scale of must-win games, the one the Texas Rangers played Sunday was at least an 8.

Many, including some Rangers players, would say it was a 10.

There aren’t many games remaining — 20 to be exact — and opportunities to gain ground in the wild-card chase are dwindling. A victory over the New York Yankees would have allowed the Rangers to gain ground.

A.J. Griffin, Nick Martinez and the Yankees’ hitters didn’t allow that to happen, and instead of gaining a game in the standings on the Minnesota Twins, the Rangers missed for the second straight day.

Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each connected for two solo homers, and Griffin and Martinez combined to surrender nine runs in the game’s first 3 2/3 innings as the Yankees rolled 16-7 to claim the weekend series.

The good news, while it was also bad, is that the Rangers find themselves only 2 1/2 games out of the playoffs. But opportunities were wasted Saturday and Sunday after winning the series opener.

“It was a tough day,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Obviously, you’d like to win a series. We need to win baseball games. That’s a quality club. They’ve got good hitters up and down the lineup. But, yeah, you’d like to be able to beat the club that’s in front of you, and we don’t get to play them again.”

The Rangers’ record sits at 71-71, back to .500. Their next 10 games are against fellow wild-card contenders the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels, so more opportunities exist to improve their playoff chances.

The Twins and the Angels are the only teams ahead of the Rangers, pending the Baltimore Orioles’ outcome Sunday night.

“It’s going to be challenging, but it’s right there,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “They are right there with us in the wild card, and those are the teams you want to play.”

But the Rangers didn’t look like a contender Sunday, as Griffin allowed five runs in three-plus innings and Martinez allowed four while recording only two outs as the first man out of the bullpen.

Griffin said that he felt fine on the mound and that nothing was different than any of his previous outings. He was clearly upset to be pulled after only 59 pitches and with the score 3-1.

“They got a couple runs off me,” Griffin said. “I just go out there and try to get guys out, and I wasn’t able to last long enough, I guess.”

The Yankees led 9-1 after 3 1/2 innings and 13-4 after batting in the eighth. By that time, the Rangers’ regulars were out of the game for some rest ahead of their four-game series against the Mariners beginning Monday. The extra arms in the bullpen mopped up as the winning pieces rested.

Rougned Odor came out of the game in the fifth, though due to injury. The second baseman was diagnosed with a mildly sprained left ankle after he was taken out by Nomar Mazara as they chased a pop-up down the right-field line.

Odor will be evaluated Monday, but the Rangers could be without him, Adrian Beltre (left hamstring) and Carlos Gomez (right ankle) for multiple games this week.

“More precautionary than anything,” Banister said. “I made the decision when I was running out there and saw him on the ground and saw the grimace on his face.”

There was a lot of grimacing going on Sunday as the Rangers failed to win a series for only the second time in their last nine. But they’re running out of opportunities to gain ground like the one that presented itself this weekend against the Yankees.

“It was not the way we wanted to end up today, but there’s nothing we can do right now,” Andrus said. “Any loss at this point is bad. The main focus for us is to keep winning series, and when it’s not happening there’s nothing you can do about it. Just turn the page and move on to the next one.”

AL wild-card standings

Team

Games back

x-NY Yankees

+3.5

x-Minnesota

LA Angels

1

Texas

2.5

Kansas City

2.5

Baltimore

2.5

Seattle

3

Tampa Bay

3.5

Note: Top two teams, marked with x, would make the playoffs if season ended today.

New York

102

621

013

16

18

1

Texas

010

210

021

7

10

1

New York AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Gardner lf

5

2

2

2

0

0

.258

Wade lf

1

1

1

1

0

0

.151

Headley 3b

6

1

1

1

0

0

.278

Sanchez dh

4

4

3

2

0

0

.280

Kratz ph-dh

1

0

1

2

0

0

1.000

Gregorius ss

4

0

4

4

0

0

.295

Torreyes ph-ss

2

0

0

0

0

1

.293

Castro 2b

6

0

0

0

0

0

.304

Judge rf

2

2

2

3

1

0

.277

Austin ph-rf

0

0

0

0

1

0

.250

Bird 1b

5

0

0

0

0

0

.147

Ellsbury cf

3

3

1

0

1

1

.258

Romine c

5

3

3

0

0

0

.229

Totals 44

16

18

15

3

2

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

3

1

1

1

1

1

.279

Choo dh

5

0

1

2

0

2

.261

Andrus ss

2

1

1

0

1

0

.306

Gosselin ss

2

0

0

0

0

1

.140

Napoli 1b

4

0

1

1

0

2

.194

Middlebrooks 3b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.273

Mazara rf

3

0

0

0

0

0

.258

Hoying ph-rf

2

0

0

0

0

1

.197

Chirinos c

2

2

1

1

1

1

.268

Jimenez c

2

0

1

0

0

0

.333

Gallo 3b-1b

2

1

0

0

2

0

.209

Nicholas ph

0

1

0

0

1

0

.289

Odor 2b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.213

Robinson 2b

3

0

1

1

0

2

.217

Rua lf

4

1

3

1

1

1

.227

Totals 37

7

10

7

7

13

E—Castro (10), Gallo (16). LOB—New York 7, Texas 11. 2B—Sanchez (16), Gregorius (26), Ellsbury (14), Romine (8), Kratz (1), Choo (18), Andrus (41), Rua (6), Robinson (2). 3B—Gardner (4). HR—Sanchez (29), off Griffin; Judge (40), off Martinez; Judge (41), off Mendez; Sanchez (30), off Ross; Chirinos (17), off Montgomery. RBIs—Gardner 2 (56), Headley (59), Sanchez 2 (83), Gregorius 4 (72), Judge 3 (90), Wade (2), Kratz 2 (2), DeShields (19), Choo 2 (68), Napoli (66), Chirinos (37), Rua (12), Robinson (10). SF—Judge, DeShields. DP—Texas 1.

New York

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Montgomery

3 1/3

3

3

3

4

3

79

4.24

Green, W, 4-0

2 1/3

4

1

1

0

4

47

2.00

Kahnle

1 1/3

1

0

0

0

2

15

2.67

Betances

1

1

2

2

2

3

29

3.02

Smith

1

1

1

1

1

1

24

7.71

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Griffin, L, 6-6

3

5

5

5

1

0

59

5.50

Martinez

 2/3

5

4

4

0

0

19

5.40

Mendez

2 1/3

4

3

1

0

1

39

3.86

Ross

2 1/3

4

4

4

2

0

50

7.71

Leclerc

 2/3

0

0

0

0

1

10

4.25

Inherited runners-scored—Green 2-1, Kahnle 2-0, Martinez 2-2, Leclerc 1-0. HBP—Griffin 2 (Sanchez,Ellsbury). WP—Montgomery. PB—Romine (3). T—3:43. A—31,349 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Mariners

7:05 p.m. Monday, FSSW

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