Rangers offense leaving no room for error

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers left themselves no room for error during a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins and lost two out of three games.

That can't be repeated starting Monday against the Oakland A's.

Headed into the next biggest series on the schedule -- Monday-Wednesday at second-place Oakland -- the Rangers fumbled away two games to a Twins team 18 games under .500, the latest a 4-2 loss on a scorching Sunday afternoon in Arlington.

The Rangers lost two games in the standings to the A's over the weekend, which trims their lead in the American League West to one game. Oakland swept playoff contender Tampa Bay over the weekend and has won six of its past seven games.

The race is heating up again.

The Rangers gave away runs and didn't score many in Sunday's loss. A botched double-play ball and an ill-advised throw led directly to all of the Twins' runs.

Meanwhile, the offense did nothing. Mitch Moreland hit a home run early. A.J. Pierzynski belted one late. That was it.

While it's disappointing the Rangers' usually reliable glove work had an off day, it's more aggravating that an offense that scored 12 runs on Wednesday against Seattle -- nine of them off Felix Hernandez -- managed six runs in three games against the Twins.

"It really doesn't matter if you score one run," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "You have to be better offensively."

The bats fell flat against Minnesota starters Liam Hendriks, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia. The Rangers were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left only 10 men on base in the two losses. They had one hit with runners in scoring position in the series and, thankfully for them, that was Leonys Martin's walk-off single for Saturday's 2-1 win.

The Rangers didn't have many chances and didn't produce when they did.

"It was a frustrating series," Pierzynski said. "We didn't do what we wanted to do."

That included two critical defensive mishaps on Sunday. Travis Blackley had four shutout innings headed to the top of the fifth despite putting on the leadoff batter in all but one inning. Twins first baseman Chris Colabello started the fifth inning with a single, but Blackley didn't have the same luck.

Clete Thomas followed by hitting a sharp ground ball to second base, a routine double play. Only Jurickson Profar made a poor throw on the turn, which allowed Thomas to go to second base. The Twins followed with three hits -- two of them bloops -- to take a 3-1 lead.

Profar hit his chest with his hand following the poor throw as he looked at first baseman Moreland, taking responsibility.

"When he got ready to throw, he got nipped," manager Ron Washington said of contact with Colabello as Profar made his throw.

The Rangers gave away another run in the top of the eighth when Kinsler fielded a grounder behind second base. With Twins center fielder Alex Presley moving from second to third, Kinsler, who didn't appear to have a play at first, should have held the ball.

Instead, he made an errant throw that allowed Presley to score easily for a 4-1 lead.

The Rangers continued a strange season at home. They are 6-5 on their past two homestands. They have 39 wins at Rangers Ballpark and 40 on the road.

Maybe that will help them regain their momentum Monday night in Oakland. In many ways, the season starts now for the Rangers and A's.

"We'll try to win [Monday night] and take it from there," Pierzynski said. "Tomorrow is the biggest game of the year, and every game after that continues to be the same."