BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Rangers’ 12-game winning streak came to a halt Tuesday night with a 9-8 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. Derek Holland started for Texas coming off two straight complete game shutouts, but it was obvious from the beginning that he wasn’t sharp. Texas took a 8-3 lead into the sixth inning and couldn’t close the deal to bring the winning streak to a disappointing end.
The Rangers opened with a first inning run, handing Holland a lead prior to taking the mound. Holland struggled through the first inning though, coughing up the lead and needing 31 pitches to complete the inning. He walked Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, and with two outs, both scored on a Howie Kendrick single.
The Angels increased the lead to 3-1 in the third when Hunter homered. However, the Rangers came back to tie the game in the fourth inning when David Murphy homered with Michael Young aboard.
Texas then seemingly took charge of the game in the fifth when they batted around to chase Angels’ All-Star Dan Haren in his shortest outing of the year. Texas tallied five runs to take the 8-3 lead, and the 13th win in a row was seemingly close.
Holland responded to the offensive largesse with a solid three up, three down fifth to qualify for the win. However, the roof caved in on him in the sixth. He gave up a run on a double and a single to the first two Angels’ batters. Three batters later he was out of the game, having retired just one.
Tommy Hunter replaced Holland, and he wasn’t sharp either. After retiring the first batter he faced, he found the third out of the inning to be very elusive. He allowed three singles and a walk before finally closing out the inning.
When the smoke had cleared, the Angels had batted around and taken a 9-8 lead. Holland was charged with seven earned runs to increase his ERA to 4.65, clearly the highest among Ranger starters. Hunter was charged with a blown save and the loss, and his ERA is up to 4.15.
The Angels bullpen took it from there, pitching three innings of one-hit ball. They retired eight straight Rangers until Michael Young doubled with two outs in the ninth to put the tieing run in scoring position. Nelson Cruz however struck out to end the game.
Obviously the winning streak was going to end sometime, but the way the Rangers lost this one was disappointing. Holland was left in the game too long, and Hunter’s failure out of the bullpen points up again the Rangers’ need for at least another quality arm in the bullpen.
It was disappointing too from the standpoint of the standings. A Ranger win would have clinched a win in the series and moved their lead over Los Angeles to six games. Instead the loss reduces the Texas lead to four games.
The series closes out this afternoon when All-Stars C. J. Wilson and Jered Weaver square off in the finale. There will be 63 games remaining in the Ranger season when they return to Arlington tomorrow night, so today’s game is not critical; but it presents the opportunity to atone for last night’s ugly loss and make a statement to the Angels that the Texas Rangers are still in charge of the division.