BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas road trip came to a disappointing end Sunday afternoon in Chicago, when the team lost to the White Sox 10-0, and lost the series two games to one.  It was the team’s first series loss after winning four straight.  Chicago is fighting to stay in the Central Division race.  They trail division leader Detroit by five games and second place Cleveland by two in the loss column.  They were fighting to stay in the race in this series with the Rangers.

Sunday, Sox starter Gavin Floyd was simply too much for Texas.  Floyd completed seven innings and left after facing one batter in the eighth.  He allowed just three hits.  The shutout was the sixth of the season for Texas.  Derek Holland (11-5) started for the Rangers and took the loss.  He simply could not locate quality pitches and lasted just 3-1/3 innings, giving up five runs, all earned on eight hits and two walks.  His ERA rose to 4.42.  He is the only Ranger starter with an ERA of more than 4.00.  Scott Feldman pitched the final 4-2/3rds innings to save the Ranger bullpen; but like Holland, he allowed five earned runs on eight hits.

It was all or nothing for the Texas offense in the series.  The Rangers tallied just nine runs, eight of which were driven in by five home runs.  Texas took the first game 7-4 Friday night.  Mitch Moreland bombed out a pair of home runs driving in five runs.  Josh Hamilton added a solo shot.  Yoshi Tatayama took the win in relief, and Neftali Feliz recorded his 25th save.

On Saturday, Alexi Ogando pitched well, recording a quality start.  He went seven innings, allowing two runs (earned) on six hits.  Unfortunately, the Texas offensive support was a mere pair of solo home runs from Ian Kinsler.  Koji Uehara gave up the winning run in the ninth inning for a 3-2 loss.  Uehara has now been scored upon in four of nine appearances for the Rangers, after allowing runs in just eight of 43 appearances with Baltimore before the getting traded to Texas.  It was the second time in three days on this road trip that the Rangers watched their opponent record a walk-off win.

Despite the disappointing ending of losing the last two games to Chicago and three of the last four on the trip; the road swing was a rousing success.  Texas won seven of 10 games, and has won 11 of the last 16.  When the last home stand ended, Texas led the division by 1.5 games.  They return to Arlington Sunday night with a four game divisional lead, after Los Angeles swept the Orioles over the weekend.

The Rangers open a 10 game home stand Monday night.  Boston is the first opponent for four games.  The pitching match-ups are C. J. Wilson (11-5) verses Erik Bedard (4-8) on Monday, Colby Lewis (11-8) verses John Lackey (11-9) on Tuesday, Matt Harrison (10-8) verses Josh Beckett (10-5) on Wednesday, and Alexi Ogando verses Tim Wakefield (6-5) in Thursday’s finale.  Boston is followed by three game series with Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.

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