Aggression at plate dooms Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' offense lives and dies by an aggressive approach. On Sunday night, that aggressiveness was not on their side as the Oakland Athletics escaped Texas with a 3-1 win in the finale of the four-game series.

Texas got eight hits and failed to put them together.

"We just didn't play well today," third baseman Michael Young said. "We'll just file it away, learn from it and get ready to play on Tuesday."

Texas' aggressive approach at the plate backfired as the Rangers had 16 at-bats that lasted three pitches or fewer, including 12 against A's starter Travis Blackley. The left-hander gave up one run on seven hits with three strikeouts in seven innings.

"He mixed it all really well," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "You've got to give credit to the guy. He was able to locate his pitches in and out and throw some off speed. He pitched a pretty good game."

Blackley recorded his fourth consecutive quality start on his way to shutting down the Rangers' offense that had feasted on the big inning all series long. His success was due in part to his pitch count. Blackley threw just 93 pitches in his seven innings, including 64 for strikes.

In Thursday's series opener and Saturday's contest, the Rangers waited out the A's starter and attacked when he tired. On Friday, they waited to do the damage against the A's bullpen. It wasn't the most efficient offense, but it was working until Sunday.

Craig Gentry led off the sixth with a ground-rule double, but it could have been more. The ball hit the bottom half of the wall before bouncing off A's center fielder Yoenis Cespedes' foot, causing the ball to hop the wall. Gentry was already motoring around second when the umpires signaled for the double. The next three batters failed to get Gentry home with two popups and a fly out.

"That was probably an easy triple and maybe an inside-the-park homer," Elvis Andrus said. "It would've changed the whole game right there. But that's baseball. It's going to happen and that's it. It's in the past."

But that wasn't all. The Rangers got a leadoff single from Torrealba to start the eighth and a one-out error put two on for Andrus and Josh Hamilton, but once again, the offense couldn't produce.

"He kind of mixed it up pretty good," Andrus said of Blackley. "We got a lot of guys on base, but we couldn't get the big hit to score. He threw a good breaking pitch to keep us off balance."