ARLINGTON (AP) — The Texas Rangers may need to accelerate their search for a starting pitcher.
Fill-in starter Ross Wolf allowed seven runs and nine hits while facing only 16 batters as the Rangers lost for the sixth time in seven games, 7-4 to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.
“They came out and they jumped on him early,” manager Ron Washington said. “He made a good pitch down, they hit it. He made pitches up, they hit it. … The first three innings, they just keep finding holes, put the ball in play and made something happen.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged this week that his team, which for the first time in four seasons came out of the All-Star break not leading the AL West, was in the market for a starting pitcher or a right-handed hitter.
While Daniels wouldn’t discuss specifics, the Chicago Cubs appear intent on trading starter Matt Garza, a right-hander long coveted by the Rangers and among the best available pitchers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. There could be other options as well.
While the Rangers had 14 hits, 13 of them were singles and they were down 7-0 before Ian Kinsler’s sacrifice fly with two outs in the seventh that finally ended the night for Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (8-3).
Texas has lost four straight games to the Orioles, who are in third place in the AL East but now lead the Rangers by a half-game for the second AL wild-card spot.
“It’s obvious we need to pitch better, it’s obvious we need to play the type of defense we know we can play,” Washington said. “And it’s obvious we need to start hitting with runners in scoring position.”
Wolf (1-3) was done after the first four batters in the third reached base — and all eventually scored to put Baltimore up 7-0. Wolf’s only two strikeouts came to end the first with the bases loaded after the Orioles had already scored twice.
“Execution. I feel like the (pitches) I did execute, they managed find a hole every time. … They punish mistakes,” Wolf said. “I got away from what I do best, and that’s compete with them, and started nibbling. I executed I’d say less than half my pitches.”
The right-hander was pitching in place of rookie Nick Tepesch, who is on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
Texas has six starting pitchers on the DL, though All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish (8-4) will be activated to start Monday night against the New York Yankees after in essence missing only one missed start because of a right trapezius strain. Tepesch is one of three rookies who have combined to start 39 Texas games.
“Obviously it hasn’t been good. There’s been some growing pains,” Washington said. “We’ve just got to grind through it. That’s all we can do.”
Mitch Moreland had an RBI single and David Murphy a two-run single in the eighth off Tommy Hunter.
Every starter had a hit for the Orioles, whose 17 were one shy of their season high.
Adam Jones hit his 20th homer on the first pitch of the third, then three straight batters reached to chase Wolf. Brian Roberts had a two-run single before Henry Urrutia, the 26-year-old Cuban prospect in his major league debut after only 67 minor league games, had an RBI single.
The Orioles even had two runners thrown out on the bases in their four-run third.
Roberts initially retreated to first before running toward an unoccupied second base, but shortstop Elvis Andrus hustled there to take a throw and tag out Roberts. Urrutia went to third on that play, but was thrown out trying to score on Nate McLouth’s flyball to left.
A.J. Pierzynski blocked the plate for the inning-ending out against Urrutia, but the Rangers catcher had a baserunning gaffe of his own.
Pierzynski was at first after a leadoff single in the second when Andrus blooped a ball into the short center field. Pierzynski stopped about halfway to second when Jones held up his glove like he was about to make the catch. After the ball dropped in front of him, Jones threw to second to force out Pierzynski.
“Man, that play works one in about 200,000 attempts,” Jones said. “I’ve seen other outfielders do it. I’ve never really done it before, and it randomly worked in a big situation.”
Notes: The start of the game and a pregame ceremony for 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame were delayed 30 minutes by rain.
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