Rangers run into buzz saw in Colorado

Ross, bullpen allow 21 hits as Rockies sweep two-game series

DENVER -- Not even the hitters' paradise that is Coors Field could awaken the Rangers' slumbering offense.

The Rockies pounded them 12-1 on Tuesday to sweep the two-game National League portion of this Interleague series. While tying their season-high in runs, the Rockies banged out a season-high 21 hits and broke the game open with a six-run sixth that included six hits with two outs.

The Rockies outscored the Rangers 20-3, in their two wins and outhit them 34-17. The Rangers, who have lost seven of their past nine games and eight of their past 11, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the two games.

"We couldn't string anything together," manager Ron Washington said. "When we did threaten, we just couldn't get that one hit to maybe keep things going. We just got to get home and get back on track."

The Rangers were unable to capitalize on the wildness of Rockies starter Juan Nicasio, who walked five in five innings but allowed two hits and one run. Texas' offense, such as it was, consisted of eight hits -- Adrian Beltre's home run in the first, six singles and a double. Five of those hits came when the Rockies already had shoved the Rangers into a deep hole.

Troy Tulowitzki went 3-for-4 with one RBIs, and Carlos Gonzalez went 5-for-5 with a double and three RBIs, tying his career high with five hits. Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 26 games, one shy of the Rockies record set last year by Michael Cuddyer, with a run-scoring double that hit the foul line in left field with two out in the seventh.

"I thought it was going to be fair," Arenado said. "Then it hit the white chalk ... It was a crazy feeling. We're up 12-1, so now I'm really thinking about the hit streak. Hey, we're up 12-1, and it creeps into your head, you don't have a hit."

Mitch Moreland singled in the eighth for his fifth straight pinch-hit. But before he stepped to the plate, Washington had told Moreland he was going to pitch the ninth. So Moreland had the odd experience of warming up his arm in the indoor batting cage, throwing to coach Bobby Jones before taking a successful turn at-bat and then taking the mound in the bottom of the inning.

A closer at Mississippi State, Moreland made his only other professional appearance as a pitcher at Low Class A Clinton in 2008 when he pitched two innings in two games.

"I certainly didn't want him to go out there and get into the mind frame that he's a pitcher," Washington said. "I told him to just go out there and throw fastballs and try to get outs and he did that."

Moreland retired the side in order, hit 94 mph with his fastball and threw 10 of 15 pitches for strikes while becoming the first Texas position player to pitch since David Murphy on June 4, 2013, at Boston.

The Rockies chipped away at starter Robbie Ross Jr. for 10 hits through five innings and four runs and then unloaded in the sixth, doing most of their damage against Alexi Ogando, who gave up six hits and four runs in one-third of an inning.

"His velocity was there. I thought he had a sharp slider," Washington said. "He was just a victim of some good fate for them."

Ross was charged with 12 hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has lost consecutive starts, and in those outings has given up 23 hits and 16 runs, 12 earned, in 8 2/3 innings and has thrown 169 pitches in that span.

"It's frustrating," Ross said. "Hopefully, this is just a little spell I'm going through these past two games and I can bounce back from it. Hopefully, I'll have a short memory and try to go out there and get ready for my next one ... You just have to grow from it and learn from it, try to forget about it but also take some stuff that I might be able to do different."

Ross was initially awarded his first Major League hit in the fifth, an infield single when second baseman Charlie Culberson hesitated before making his throw. But the Rockies challenged the call, which was overturned after a 1 minute, 35 second review.

Nicasio then issued consecutive walks but escaped when Beltre hit a slow roller toward shortstop that third baseman Arenado cut off with a barehanded pickup and threw Beltre out. Beltre went 67 at-bats without a home run to begin the season, a drought that ended when he hit his first of the season with two out in the first. Beltre's homer was his 99th as a Ranger. With his next homer, he will become the fifth player in major league history to hit 100 or more homers with three different teams, joining Darrell Evans, Reggie Jackson. Alex Rodriguez, and Jim Thome.

The Rangers head home for five games -- two with the Rockies and a weekend series with the Red Sox -- and play 10 of their next 13 games at home. That will be welcome scheduling, particularly after their two-game nightmare at Coors Field.

"Hopefully we can get back to Texas and some of those balls that fell in because of the depth out there, we can turn into outs and we can stay in the ballgame," Washington said. "We're looking forward to getting home and seeing if we can get some offense going."

Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.