Rangers unable to overcome defensive miscues

Rangers unable to overcome defensive miscues

Rangers unable to overcome defensive miscues
ANAHEIM -- Rangers manager Ron Washington had a simple but direct and forceful message for his team during a postgame meeting on Saturday night.

"We're a better baseball team than we've been showing," Washington said. "It's up to them to show it."

His players weren't about to dispute that after three errors were just among many things that went wrong in a 3-2 loss to the Angels on Saturday night. The Rangers have lost four in a row and their lead has dropped to 3 1/2 games in the American League West.

"We haven't been playing good baseball, that's what it comes down to," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

"We're not playing our style of baseball, we've got to get back to that," infielder Michael Young said.

The Rangers also weren't happy with the umpiring, particularly in the seventh inning when the two calls went against them. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba ended up getting ejected for arguing a play at the plate.

But the Rangers weren't blaming this one on the umpires.

"If we play our style of baseball and do what we're capable of doing, it doesn't matter," Kinsler said. "If we play our style of baseball, those things don't come into play."

They didn't. Rangers starter Yu Darvish ended up taking the loss despite allowing just five hits over 6 1/3 innings.

"He pitched a heckuva game," Washington said. "I wish we could have supported him. We didn't make the plays. Things happen in the game of baseball, but they've happened to us a little too often and we need to put a stop to that. It was defense that killed us."

Even Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson offered some insight on the Rangers' defense.

"The thing with Texas, they have a lot of defensive talent, but they also make a lot of errors," Wilson said. "Tonight, that was really the story."

The offense also didn't help. The Rangers were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. That included Josh Hamilton batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning. Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri struck him out to end the game.

"A very ugly performance and we lost by one run," Washington said.

Darvish and Wilson battled through five scoreless innings before the Angels broke through in the sixth. Actually the Rangers' defense broke down. First baseman Mike Napoli couldn't catch Albert Pujols' high pop in short right field leading off the inning. Pujols reached second and later scored on an error by third baseman Adrian Beltre.

"That's a part of the game," Darvish said. "Unfortunately, those are part of the game, and part of the team. At the end, I gave up that run. I couldn't stop them from scoring, and I'm a little disappointed about that. But it's all about the team."

Wilson left after six and the Rangers were able to load the bases with nobody out in the seventh against reliever Jordan Walden. But they only got one run on a sacrifice fly by David Murphy and that left it tied going into the bottom of the seventh.

Erick Aybar started the Angels' seventh with a bunt single that Darvish fumbled as he tried to rush a throw to first base. Bobby Wilson struck out trying to advance the runner, but Aybar was able to steal second with Mike Trout at the plate.

Trout hit a high bouncer to shortstop Elvis Andrus that came close to hitting Aybar as he broke for third. Andrus fielded the ball and did not throw it, instead claiming the ball hit Aybar. But neither second-base umpire Ted Barrett nor third-base umpire Marvin Hudson called it. Instead, Trout had an infield single and Aybar was at third.

Andrus said the ball hit Aybar's jersey. If so, the proper ruling would have been Aybar out, ball dead and Trout on at first.

"It hit his jersey for sure," Andrus said. "That's why as soon as I saw it, that's why I didn't make the throw. But he didn't see it."

Washington said Andrus still should have thrown Trout out at first instead of stopping the play. He made that clear to Andrus in the dugout afterward.

"You have to complete the play and then go back and argue with it," Washington said. "Elvis wouldn't have done what he did if he wasn't sure, but you still have to complete the play. You don't know what the umpire is going to say."

Said home-plate umpire Tim McClelland, "I had a great angle and it didn't seem to hit him."

After Trout stole second without a throw, Callaspo singled to right to score Aybar. Darvish then walked Pujols to load the bases and was replaced by Koji Uehara. He came in to face Kendrys Morales, who hit a line drive to right field.

Cruz came in to make the catch and Trout broke for home. Cruz made a strong accurate throw to Torrealba, who put the tag on Trout as he slid across the plate. McClelland called Trout safe and Torrealba was quickly ejected for arguing.

"I thought he was out, period," Torrealba said. "I thought the throw beat him. I was trying to block the plate. I don't think [McClelland] was in the right position to tell if he was out or safe. In a close game like that and an emotional play and I went off."

Said McClelland, "I thought Trout's foot hit plate before Torrealba tagged him."

That gave the Angels a 3-1 lead. The Rangers got one run in the eighth with the help of right-fielder Torii Hunter's throwing error. That made it a one-run game but it all ended with Frieri striking out Hamilton in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the Rangers to head to the clubhouse in defeat.

The Rangers have lost four straight but they insist they are not frustrated.

"I don't believe in frustration," Torrealba said. "We're the best team in baseball, period. Everything goes up and down, and we're doing down right now. But we're the best team in baseball. I'm sure a lot of people agree with that."

Said Young, "There's no frustration. We have to get back to playing our style of baseball."

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