Rangers fall as Feldman's win streak ends at six

Rangers fall as Feldman's win streak ends at six

Rangers fall as Feldman's win streak ends at six
ARLINGTON -- Like the third out in the sixth inning, a victory proved elusive for the Rangers on Friday night.

Scott Feldman, who had won his last six decisions, retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before Andy Dirks tapped a ground ball past a diving Feldman for an infield single. Miguel Cabrera fouled off a pair of two-strike offerings before lining another base hit to right, leaving men on first and second base for Prince Fielder.

"He hit it in the right spot," Feldman said of Dirks. "I was trying everything I had to get it and dove for a ball I probably had no business diving for. I was trying to keep him off base and keep the next two guys from coming up."

After flying out in his first two trips to the plate, Fielder hit a changeup in the air during his third at-bat that didn't land until it cleared the right-field wall.

Just like that, a one-run Rangers lead turned into a two-run deficit. Fielder was the last batter Feldman faced as he suffered his first loss in nearly two months as the Rangers fell to the Tigers, 6-2, at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night.

"He just made one bad pitch. That was the pitch he left up to Fielder," manager Ron Washington said. "That jam shot from Dirks, he beat that out. Cabrera fought for his at-bat. I thought he beat him. If it was a normal hitter up there, we probably could have caught that ball. But with [Cabrera] up there, we were just a little extra deep and it fell."

One of two pitchers in Major League history to win six straight decisions after starting a season 0-6, Feldman fell to 6-7 after giving up four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was trying to become the first pitcher in Major League history to have a winning record after beginning a season by dropping six decisions in a row. Feldman appeared well on his way to doing that before Fielder's 20th homer of the year.

"Yeah, [Feldman] was pitching well," Fielder said. "He wasn't making mistakes. Sometimes that happens, but you just have to wait it out, and if he does make them, don't miss them."

"I threw the ball well for the majority of the game, it was just that pitch there to Prince I wish I could have back," Feldman said. "I was trying everything I could to protect the lead. I just made a mistake there to Fielder and he did some damage there. One at-bat and he throws up three runs. It happened pretty quick."

Despite out-hitting the Tigers, 10-9, the Rangers fell for the third time this month and lost their second consecutive series opener. With the A's falling to the White Sox, 4-3, the Rangers' lead in the American League West remains at 5 1/2 games. They were held to two runs on eight hits over six innings by Max Scherzer, who improved to 11-6.

"You can make an argument that's the best offense in the game," Scherzer said. "Anytime you're able to have success against them, it's [big]. To me, you always measure yourself against the best. You don't measure yourself against the worst lineup in baseball."

Despite having two men on with nobody out, the Rangers didn't score in the second inning, and Scherzer left the bases loaded in the third. The Rangers didn't have multiple baserunners in an inning the rest of the game.

"There were some chances against Scherzer," Washington said. "All we had to do was put the ball in play and, in those situations, we just didn't. It came back and it got us."

Josh Hamilton hit his 31st home run of the year in the first inning, tying him with Adam Dunn for the Major League lead. That also gave him 96 RBIs this year, a mark Cabrera tied with an RBI single in the fourth.

After the Tigers batted around and scored four times in the sixth, Tanner Scheppers gave up an inside-the-park homer to Austin Jackson, who sneaked a sinking liner under the glove of a diving Nelson Cruz in right field, extending the Tigers' lead to 6-2. It was the first inside-the-park homer for the Tigers since Curtis Granderson hit one in 2007 and the first by an opponent at the Ballpark in Arlington since Grady Sizemore's in 2006.

"I was trying to catch it," Cruz said. "I think as soon as he hit it, it was good. But when I felt like I was going to dive, I was like [dang], I can't get to it. I guess it wasn't a good idea."

Cruz experienced some lower back stiffness following that play that forced him to exit the next inning. He was replaced by Craig Gentry in the top of the eighth.

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.