Murphy, Rangers hope new day ends slump

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Three of the key at-bats in Wednesday night's 5-2 loss to Cleveland found the Rangers' lineup turning over to slumping left fielder David Murphy.

Murphy, trying to find his swing, produced four outs.

That's the place where Murphy finds himself, and he's doing it batting in the crucial No. 2 spot in the lineup with Ian Kinsler still out with a rib cage injury. That's forced Murphy up in the lineup.

In past seasons -- especially when Josh Hamilton has been hurt -- Murphy has carried the Rangers' offense for stretches. Just not right now.

Murphy had a chance to create momentum for a struggling offense in the third inning. No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin had homered to cut the Indians lead to 3-1. Jurickson Profar followed with a single. Suddenly Murphy was the tying run at the plate.

Murphy got ahead in the count at 3-1, then took what he said was an "over-aggressive swing" on a sinker away and rolled it over to second base for a double play. Lance Berkman had a single and Adrian Beltre had a walk after Murphy, but the two outs on one swing and A.J. Pierzynski's ground out ruined the Rangers best chance to get back into the game.

"You're going to have moments where you fail as a team, you're going to have moments where you fail individually, and the key is to just minimize the valleys," Murphy said. " Right now, it's just not happening for us."

Murphy batted with two runners on in the bottom of the seventh with the Rangers trailing 5-1 and flew out. He made the last out of the game in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on and the tying run on deck when he flew out against to center field.

Murphy finished the night 0-for-5 to lower his average to .211. He has one hit in his last 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Murphy said he and his teammates have to keep the faith.

"It's definitely been a struggle," Murphy said. "It happens to every team each year. But it's obviously something we need to turn around as soon as possible. We have to start getting more hits, get more guys on base and string together some good at-bats with runners in scoring position. Our production has been a little slow."