ARLINGTON (AP) – After giving up 38 hits in two nights, Rangers manager Ron Washington could only shake his head at the offensive onslaught of the Detroit Tigers.
“It seemed like everything they touched fell in,” he said.
Detroit pounded out a season-high 20 hits on Tuesday night to hand the AL West-leading Rangers an 8-1 loss. After winning five straight on the road, Texas has come home and dropped two in a row to the Tigers.
“They had great at-bats,” said outfielder David Murphy, who had three hits to lead the Rangers. “We got beat and that’s the game sometimes.”
Texas starter Matt Harrison (5-5) lasted just four innings. The right-hander, who has been battling painful symptoms from a kidney stone since last Saturday, sailed through the first three innings before running out of gas in the fourth.
The Tigers collected five hits in the fourth, none bigger than a two-run single by Austin Jackson, one of three hits on the night for the native of nearby Denton, Texas. Jackson also drove in three runs.
Jackson appeared to strike out but home-plate umpire Ed Hickox ruled that a fouled third strike hit the ground before going into catcher Mike Napoli’s mitt. Replays showed Napoli caught the ball cleanly for what would have been the third out before Jackson singled two pitches later for a 3-0 lead. Casper Wells then followed with an RBI-single to make it 4-0.
Washington, who came out to question the call, said Hickox told him he didn’t need to seek help on the call from another umpire.
“I thought he caught it clean,” Harrison said. “That’s the umpire’s judgment and that’s the way it goes. I still have to make another pitch. I left the ball out over the plate and (Jackson) was able to drive it into the gap.”
Added Napoli: “I thought I caught it. (Hickcox) said he had it hitting the ground.”
Harrison allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings after not allowing a run in two-plus outings — a span of 19 2-3 innings. He gave way to Dave Bush to start the fifth, and admitted running out of steam after not pitching for nine days. He missed his last start June 2 in Cleveland due to a blister on his right index finger before developing the kidney stone.
“It started hurting again in the top of the ninth,” said Harrison. “Hopefully it’s out of the way here in a day or so and I can move on.”
Texas trimmed the deficit to 4-1 in the sixth, stringing together three hits off winning pitcher Rick Porcello (6-3).
Ian Kinsler scored from third on Michael Young’s infield single, but Porcello got Adrian Beltre to line out to short and fanned Cruz with two runners aboard to end the threat. The Rangers stranded nine baserunners on the night.
“We had opportunities in the fourth inning to get back in it,” Washington said. “We had the right people up, but just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Porcello, mixing an effective sinker with a slider and change-up, scattered six hits in allowing a run. He won for the sixth time in his last seven outings and has allowed less than two runs in five of his last nine starts.
In winning their fourth straight, the Tigers added two runs in the seventh and a run each in the eighth and ninth against three Texas relievers. Every Tiger in the lineup had at least one hit, including Casper Wells, Alex Avila, and Victor Martinez, who also had three hits apiece.
The loss means the Rangers’ streak of four consecutive series wins is over. In Monday’s 13-7 loss, the Rangers fell behind 7-0 by the third inning.
“The tough part is they’ve been getting a lead early in the game — a pretty significant lead,” Murphy said of the last two nights. “Tonight we really didn’t answer it. … That can be frustrating. They had great at-bats.”
Notes: Cruz went 0-for-4 to end his 10-game hitting streak. … Washington gave SS Elvis Andrus the night off, going with Andres Blanco. “I ran him in the ground last year and I’m not going to run him in the ground this year,” Washington said of Andrus. … Texas CF Endy Chavez (sore toe) remained out of the lineup, but Washington indicated he was available to pinch-hit. … Rangers RHP Brandon Webb (shoulder inflammation) reported no ill effects from a 15-minute session of long toss before the game. Webb could resume a minor-league rehab assignment early next week.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)