How it happened: Pretty quickly. The Tigers scored three in the first inning: Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly drove in the first run, followed by RBI doubles from Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to get things rolling against Rangers starter Joe Saunders. The Tigers pushed the lead to 5-1 in the third, but the Rangers cut the deficit to 5-3 with a three-run fourth. Saunders couldn’t keep the game close, however; he allowed a homer to Victor Martinez off a 0-1 pitch. Ron Washington saw enough and relieved him in favor of Shawn Tolleson, who wasn’t much better; on the first pitch he threw, J.D. Martinez smashed a homer to right-center for a 7-3 lead. The Rangers kept coming back, cutting the lead to 7-5 with two outs and a man on in the seventh. Carlos Pena lined out to first to end the inning. In the ninth, trailing 8-5, the Rangers cut into the lead when Adrian Beltre singled in a run against former Ranger and current Tigers closer Joe Nathan. Pena came up again as the tying run against Nathan with two out, but he struck out swinging on a fastball to end the game.
What it means: The Rangers currently have the longest losing streak in the majors at seven. This is the longest slide for this club since a seven-game losing streak in September. While there are concerns about the lineup, there’s only so much the Rangers can do with that outside of a trade. The pitching staff has been inconsistent. Saunders fell to 0-4, and you have to wonder about his status in the rotation going forward.
Saunders held up: It appeared Saunders finished his warm-up tosses early; he wrapped up while ESPN was doing an interview with Washington at game’s start and at one point threw one more warm-up pitch. Maybe he was out of sync when the game started. His first pitch of the game sailed to the backstop, and he gave up a leadoff triple to Rajai Davis. Ian Kinsler walked and Cabrera’s fly out brought home the first run. Saunders might have lost a rhythm during the delay. He lasted just four innings, taken out after the fifth-inning homer to Martinez, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked five and struck out two on 84 pitches.
Boos for Kinsler: Kinsler, the former Ranger, received mostly cheers on Tuesday night in his first game at his former home. On Wednesday, there were more boos during his trips to the plate. He went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored on the evening. Unlike his wave to the Rangers' dugout on Tuesday after hitting a home run, there were no such hijinks Wednesday.
Pena gets going: Pena failed to hit a ball out the infield on Tuesday, but Wednesday night he went 2-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored. It was Pena’s first home run since June 20, 2013, when he played for Houston. The Rangers hope Pena can provide a boost to a lineup that's produced just 11 runs in the past five games coming into Wednesday’s game.