O wastes another strong effort by Darvish

ARLINGTON, Texas -- One run isn't enough, not even for Yu Darvish.

And that's the state of affairs for the Rangers after Thursday's frustrating 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Darvish wasn't at his best, yet he still went seven innings and allowed one run, leaving after seven innings with the teams locked in a 1-1 tie.

With the way the Rangers aren't scoring runs, Darvish's three-hit, nine-strikeout effort wasn't enough.

With no room for an error, literally, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre started the top of the eighth by throwing wildly to first base, allowing Emilio Bonifacio to reach base. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, reliever Neal Cotts walked Jose Bautista.

Rangers manager Ron Washington went to stud setup man Tanner Scheppers, who allowed a two-run double on a line drive that just eluded a diving Leonys Martin in center field. Blue Jays up 3-1.

Ball game.

"Everybody makes mistakes," Washington said of the Beltre error. "Even though we made the mistake, we had a chance to get out of the inning."

They didn't, and that was it.

A two-run deficit is like 10 runs for the Rangers these days. And that was again the big story on Thursday night, not Darvish's early struggles throwing his curve ball. The Rangers need to cure their ills on offense.

There didn't appear to be much panic yet after the game.

"Teams have ups and downs," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "We're not doing a lot right now. We're not getting enough hits. We're not hitting with runners in scoring position."

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on Nelson Cruz's 16th home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the second, and that was it. The Rangers had five singles the rest of the way. They didn't get a runner to second base.

In fact, the only time they had a runner in scoring position the entire game was in the bottom of the first when David Murphy walked and Lance Berkman followed with a single. Beltre, one of the few hitters who can be counted on these days, bounced into a double play to end the inning.

"We're not getting continuity throughout the lineup," Washington said. "Sometimes that happens. We haven't had an opportunity to hit up and down the lineup."

The Rangers have lost three straight to teams that are a combined eight games under .500. They have scored five runs in the three games.

Meanwhile, Oakland swept the New York Yankees and takes a two-game lead in the American League West into Friday. The Rangers have lost ground in 11 of the last 19 games.

That can get frustrating.

Darvish is now winless in five starts, and after getting better than seven runs scored for him in his first nine starts, he's had a total of seven scored for him in five games.

Darvish was asked after the game what he would say to his teammates. He prefaced it by saying he's only in his second year and he's not a leader yet.

"We have to keep our heads up and keep believing," Darvish said.