Rangers fail to execute in all facets

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Chalk it up as a night when the Texas Rangers didn't execute -- at the plate, on the bases and in the field.

The end result? A 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night, the Rangers' first game back after the four-day All-Star break.

The only good news is the Rangers were likely not to lose ground to Oakland in the American League West if the Los Angeles Angels held on to a lead out on the West Coast.

Where to start with this one.

How about a Texas offense that produced numerous scoring opportunities, and finished the night 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers entered the game 13th in the American League in those situations, and the All-Star break didn't do anything to change their mojo.

A bad omen was delivered in the bottom of the first when A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out line drive over first base that appeared to bring up chalk but was ruled foul by first base umpire Rob Drake. Elvis Andrus, who was on second base, would have scored easily for a 1-0 lead.

"If that's a half an inch left," said Pierzynski, who was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. "We couldn't get a hit. It was one of those nights."

The Rangers were the victim of a great play by Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who went over the fence to rob Adrian Beltre of a home run to start the bottom of the fourth.

But the Rangers also victimized themselves. It happened on defense in the top of the fifth, when Baltimore took a 3-1 lead on two plays the Rangers didn't make after Derek Holland got two quick outs to start the inning.

Ian Kinsler made a dazzling stop behind second base and made a long one-hop throw that Mitch Moreland couldn't scoop. Markakis followed with a bloop double that inexperienced left fielder Jurickson Profar didn't get a good read on. Center fielder Craig Gentry couldn't get over to make a diving catch, allowing Manny Machado to score from first base.

Moreland was disappointed for Holland, who pitched eight strong innings as he continues to throw like the Rangers' ace, allowing four runs or fewer in 19 of his 20 starts this season.

"It's a play I have to make," Moreland said. "Kinsler did a great job. Holland threw his butt off the whole game. In that situation, Ian makes a great play up the middle and the ball was a little short, but it's a play I have to make every time. I didn't make it there and it ended up coming back on us."

The game didn't just come down to Moreland not scooping a throw at first base. The Rangers had a chance to have runners at second and third with one out in the sixth inning, still trailing 3-1. But third-base coach Gary Pettis was late stopping Jeff Baker as he came steaming around third base. He was an easy out as he scurried back to the base.

"I'm not going to question that," manager Ron Washington said after the game. "If I question that, I'm going to throw someone under the bus."

The game ended in the bottom of the ninth with the tying runs on base and two outs with Andrus up. Andrus has struggled all season -- he entered the game with a .242 batting average -- but had two hits on the night when he stepped into the batter's box against Orioles closer Jim Johnson.

Andrus grounded out to shortstop to end a dismal first game back from the break for the Rangers.

“When you’re that close and not able to execute, for sure you get a little mad," Andrus said.