Banister: Texas must 'come out swinging'

Banister: Texas must 'come out swinging'

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have lost two straight to the Blue Jays, and manager Jeff Banister was quite candid about the meaning of Thursday's series finale.

"When you get punched in the mouth twice, you've got to come out swinging," Banister said after Wednesday's 12-4 loss. "To go where we want to go, we've got to come back and play well tomorrow. We have to have our 'A' game. We have to be focused tomorrow and find a way to grind one out however it goes. We can't give another one away."

This is what happens when a minimum of six teams are in the hunt for two Wild Card playoff berths. After winning three in a row, the Rangers were holding on to the second spot. Now that they have lost two to the Blue Jays, they have fallen a half-game behind the Twins.

There are 37 games left, including one more with the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon.

"It was just a bad day at work," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We still have another month to go, and in baseball you don't know what will happen. In a week, things can change. Today, yesterday, we played a team that's really hot and playing great offensively. We just have to turn the page and be ready to go tomorrow."

The Blue Jays did bring out the firepower again on Wednesday, with three more home runs, including a grand slam by Edwin Encarnacion. But Banister wasn't as irked by the long ball as much as he was by the free passes.

Rangers pitchers issued 11 walks, including four by starter Colby Lewis. Reliever Sam Freeman walked four in just an inning of work, a career high for him. Six of the 11 players walked ended up scoring, and another crossed the plate after a throwing error by third baseman Adrian Beltre in the third inning led to an unearned run.

The 11 walks were the most in a game by Rangers pitchers since they recorded 11 against the Angels on July 10, 2008.

"Eleven walks," Banister said. "That's hard to defend. Where we are at in the season, where we want to go and what we need to do, obviously that is not what we are looking for. That's a tough group in that other clubhouse. We know what they are capable of. But we helped them out with 11 walks. The reality is, we can't walk 11. That's unacceptable."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.