Rangers haunted by failure to execute
They're a half-game out of first place in the AL West and 1-6 in extra innings. On the bright side, maybe it will even out soon.
Ross' night imploded in the top of the 10th. The Rangers' left-hander retired the first two batters he faced and was on the verge of giving his offense a chance at their second walk-off win of the season. He had Seattle designated hitter Michael Saunders down 0-and-2 in the count and walked him. It was a trend Holland had started in the sixth (more on that later).
Ross then went to a 1-1 count to Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who is quickly becoming one of the toughest outs among young players in the American League. Ross made a good pitch to the left-handed hitting Seager -- an inside fastball -- but he was ready for it and slugged it into the right-field seats for a two-run home run and a 4-2 lead. Ball game.
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The game turned on the Rangers in the sixth inning. Holland had allowed a leadoff home run to Jason Bay, but David Murphy and Ian Kinsler had given him a 2-1 lead with homers off Felix Hernandez in the bottom of the fifth. All Holland needed was a shutdown inning.
He didn't get it.
Holland allowed leadoff singles to Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales, and after getting Seager out, he got ahead of Justin Smoak with the dreaded 0-2 count and walked him to load the bases.
Holland was able to bare down and strike out Dustin Ackley on a 3-2 slider for the second out. Holland couldn't put away Mariners catcher Mike Zunino. Again, Holland got ahead 0-2 and after Zunino fouled off a pitch, three consecutive sliders missed. After another foul ball, Zunino hit a tricky ground ball behind third base. Adrian Beltre went for a backhand stop, but the ball took a funky hop and he couldn't field it cleanly. Tie score.
"It's frustrating," Holland said. "My job is to go out there and keep the momentum on our side. I had two guys at 0-2 and didn't put them away."
The Rangers had a chance to get the run back in the bottom of the sixth against Hernandez. Beltre led off the inning with a double. All the Rangers had to do was execute.
But Pierzynski, trying to hit the ball to the right side, swung at a pitch that was off the plate and flew out to left. Lance Berkman then struck out and Mitch Moreland also flew out to left.
A chance to get the lead back ended up a missed opportunity. And that's how you get to another extra-innings loss.
"It just wasn't good," Pierzynski said of his at-bat. "I have to get the guy over right there. I didn't get it done."
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