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Rangers' bats silent vs. Verlander

Rangers' bats silent vs. Verlander

ARLINGTON -- Texas starter Kevin Millwood doesn't know the answer. Neither does manager Ron Washington.

Millwood lasted 3 2/3 innings as the Rangers fell 10-0 to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night in front of 28,795 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

It marked the second consecutive game the Ranger starter could not to make it through the fourth inning. On Tuesday, spot starter John Rheinecker went three-plus innings.

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"It's starting to get really, really frustrating," Millwood said. "I'm trying just about everything I know. Physically, I feel fine. It's just not happening. I don't know what to do right now."

The Rangers bullpen has now pitched 215 2/3 innings, the most in the American League.

"It's always alarming when you have to go to the bullpen so early," Washington said. "We're just fortunate to have some guys out there that can bridge the gap. We need to get more from our starters but you just have to take what comes and go with it. That's baseball."

Washington said the team will probably have to add another pitcher after relying so heavily on the bullpen the past two games.

"We have to piece it together now," he said.

The Rangers starting pitching now has the worst rotation ERA in history at 6.77. The 1996 Detroit Tigers had a 6.64.

"The pressure on me is not to stink," Millwood said. "I can't control anyone else. I got to get myself better."

Catcher Gerald Laird feels just as much responsibility as the pitchers in their struggles to go deep into ballgames.

"We're a team out there and we have to get it done," he said. "[Millwood] had his velocity up and was pitching well. It's all location. You make mistakes in the middle of the plate and guys will hurt you."

On top of the woeful starting pitching, first baseman Mark Teixeira left the game after the fifth inning with a stiff neck.

"I had a knot in my neck in batting practice," Teixeira said. "We worked on it before the game and it loosened up. But we started to play the game and it froze up on me. I tried to gut it out."

Teixeira said he'll be ready to go tomorrow.

It was the second shutout against the Rangers this season. Detroit starter Justin Verlander threw seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits. Relievers Bobby Seay and Todd Jones finished the game for the Tigers.

"Any team in baseball would have had trouble tonight with the stuff he was throwing up there," Washington said. "It's all about pitching and tonight it was about Justin Verlander."

Designated hitter Gary Sheffield led the Tigers' offensive onslaught with two home runs against Millwood. Both were two-run blasts coming in the first and third inning. In the first inning, Sheffield drove in Placido Polanco with a shot to right field.

"He's a great hitter," Millwood said. "I left the ball up and he got it out. I felt like my stuff was fine, but that happens when I don't hit my spot."

In the third, the Tigers scored four runs. Two were from an RBI triple from Curtis Granderson and an RBI single from Polanco, preceding Sheffield's home run to left field. The Tigers added one in the fourth with an RBI single from Sheffield, his fifth RBI of the game.

Wes Littleton came in relief of Millwood, but he didn't fair much better, giving up back-to-back home runs to Carlos Guillen and Ivan Rodriguez as the Tigers went up 9-0 to start the fifth inning.

Detroit scored its 10th run in the sixth when Magglio Ordonez drove in Polanco with a single to left.

Washington won't dwell on the pounding his team took.

"It was just one of those nights. You shower it off and let it go down the drain," he said. "If we win tomorrow, tonight won't matter."

Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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