Sluggish Rangers can't back Feldman

Sluggish Rangers can't back Feldman

Sluggish Rangers can't back Feldman
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers trailed by five runs going into the top of the eighth inning Saturday afternoon. At that point, their defense had committed three errors and their offense had produced just two singles against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.

More errors than hits is not a good combination and the Rangers eventually went down, 5-2, to the Giants at AT&T Park. Rangers starter Scott Feldman allowed just four hits through 5 1/3 innings but the errors and other unusual occurrences helped extend his losing streak to five straight.

"I mean, you know what, it's disappointing we didn't win but I can still take some positives out of it," Feldman said. "I think I threw the ball well. It was one of those days where we didn't get many breaks as a team and they were able to scrape a few runs across."

The Rangers are now 3-6 on this 10-game road trip that ends Sunday afternoon. The Rangers have also lost eight of their last 11 games and they now lead the American League West by three games. That's the smallest their lead has been since April 16.

"Today wasn't our day," first baseman Michael Young said. "We didn't hit well enough to win. It wasn't our cleanest day defensively but we didn't swing the bat well enough today. We swung the bats good last night; we didn't today."

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The Rangers committed three errors and also had one passed ball, one wild pitch and one balk. Normally manager Ron Washington is irritated by such defensive lapses, but it was the offense that concerned him Saturday afternoon.

"I thought Feldman was pitching really good," Washington said. "He battled and gave us a chance. That's what we needed. We just didn't support him with enough runs."

Mitch Moreland hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth off Vogelsong and Mike Napoli went deep in the ninth. But the Rangers are still hitting .253 with a .390 slugging percentage and 37 runs scored in their last 11 games. Outfielder Nelson Cruz also had to come out of the game in the eighth inning with a sore right ankle. He will be re-evaluated Sunday but it's not considered serious.

"We usually don't have everybody in the whole lineup struggling," Washington said. "But that's what's here. All we can do is keep working and it will come around. Those guys can hit. We'll come back around."

The Giants' first run came after Vogelsong, who was 0-for-20 on the season coming into the game, lined a one-out single to center. Vogelsong has also never stolen a base in his career but Feldman put him at second with a balk. It was the first balk by a Rangers pitcher this season.

Gregor Blanco then lined a single to center, putting runners at the corners and bringing up Ryan Theriot. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to stay out of a double play so he had Blanco running when Theriot hit a grounder to Ian Kinsler near second base. Kinsler went to tag Blanco, who backpedaled away from him. Kinsler then decided to throw to first and threw it over Young's head, allowing everybody to be safe and the run to score.

That gave the Giants a 1-0 lead and it stayed that way into the fifth. Then Brandon Crawford hit a high fly to left that Josh Hamilton dropped after struggling to find it in the sun. Crawford ended up on second. Feldman struck out Vogelsong and Blanco, but Theriot lined a two-out single to right-center to bring home the run.

"You don't like to make errors," Washington said. "I thought after we left Anaheim [seven games ago] we put together six pretty good games defensively where we caught the ball. Today some things happened. Kinsler made an error but so what, they still would have scored the run there. I don't think we could have stopped them from scoring.

"Hamilton had to fight the sun. The guy is pretty good in the sun. Today the sun beat him."

Feldman's day ended after a one-out walk to Angel Pagan in the sixth. With three left-handed hitters coming up, left-hander Robbie Ross was summoned from the bullpen. He retired Brandon Belt on a fly to center but Nate Schierholtz tripled off the right-field wall to make it 3-0.

Feldman has now lost five straight starts, but Washington thought he deserved better Saturday.

"We just didn't swing the bats as well as we can and we will," Washington said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for 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.