The Texas Rangers fell to the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, bringing their record back to .500 and dropping to fourth place in the American League West. Nelson Cruz blasted his league-leading 21st home run and Adam Jones put one over the wall as the Rangers lost yet another home game. Texas is 13-14 in their newly christened ballpark and 16-15 on the road, and have lost 11 of their last 15 games in Arlington.
Joe Saunders, who returned to the lineup on May 28 after nearly two months of rehab at Round Rock, allowed 10 hits in six-plus innings, but the Rangers held the Orioles to only two runs in that time. Texas tied it up going into the eighth inning, after Jason Frasor successfully navigated a bases-loaded situation and Robinson Chirinos hit a solo home run in the seventh.
It all went downhill after that, with Alexi Ogando, Neal Cotts, and Shawn Tolleson combining for six runs on five hits, including a three-run shot from Cruz with two outs left that brought the Orioles lead to 8-2. Though Tolleson put up the pitch that led to Cruz’s blast, Ogando took the loss, and the Rangers dropped another home game. Robbie Ross closed out the ninth inning, allowing no runs on only one hit and forcing a groundout and a flyout, while Leonys Martin tripled and then made it home on a sacrifice fly from Chirinos. It was not enough, though, and Baltimore took the 8-3 win.
‘The Orioles hit over .400 against Rangers pitching on Tuesday, while Texas went seven for 31 for the day and 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Adrian Beltre and Chirinos scored the only runs, both home runs with no one on base. Texas is hitting .204 and averaging less than three runs in their last 15 games in Arlington.
The former-Ranger in the ballpark did not seem to be having the same struggles as his previous teammates, or as his former Texas-playing self. Cruz, who leads the league in both home runs and RBIs (55) only got one hit on four at-bats, but it was the hit that mattered. Rangers’ fans greeted Cruz with a standing ovation, and he proceeded to give them, and Texas management, a few reasons to doubt the wisdom of letting him go when he hit free agency at the end of last season.
Adam Jones had an even better night with four hits on five at-bats, knocking it over the wall in the fourth, and then scoring in the sixth off of Delmon Young’s single to pick up the Orioles’ first two runs of the game. Four of Baltimore’s starting nine batted at .500 or better in the outing. They combined for .477 on base percentage and Texas pitchers threw only four strikeouts against the Orioles all game.
Nick Martinez will take the mound Wednesday night against Baltimore’s Bud Norris. Norris is 3-5 with a 4.04 earned run average and 40 strikeouts over 10 starts. Martinez is 1-1 with a 2.75 earned run average over 10 games, including six starts and four relief appearances. Martinez has 20 strikeouts for the season.
Wednesday night’s matchup could end better for Texas with Martinez throwing, but the Rangers will need to get their home bats going if they hope to win any games in Globe Life Park. Hopefully losing another home game on former-Ranger Nelly Cruz’s three-run blast was the wake-up call Texas needed to start winning in Arlington again.
Commentary by Christina Jones
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Texas Rangers
Follow Christina’s Coverage in the Rangers Roundup