Slumping Rangers thumped by Pirates

Rangers thumped by Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- They just aren't very good right now.

They haven't been for most of the season and they certainly weren't on Wednesday night when all of their woes seemed to be on parade.

Their starting pitcher was knocked out early, their defensive lapses were costly and they were hitless with runners in scoring position. They could use Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock. All the same ugly statistics just keep getting updated.

The Rangers had been having some success against National League teams, but even that is slipping away as they lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-1, at PNC Park on Wednesday.

The Rangers had won four of their first five in Interleague Play but have now lost two straight to Pirates and three straight overall.

At this point, what is there really to say? The manager?

"I didn't think we pitched very well, we didn't play defense behind our pitcher and we had some situations early in the game where we could have scored some runs and we didn't swing the bat very well," manager Ron Washington said. "Things just didn't come together very well for us tonight."

The one All-Star still standing?

"Extra rough," shortstop Michael Young said. "We lost 8-1. It wasn't fun. We didn't play a good game all-around. There's no way around that. We could have done better in all facets of the game."

The starting pitcher?

"I think I was pitching all right," Robinson Tejeda said. "Everybody who was watching the game saw a couple of things happen. I was still in the game. When you have a stretch like that, I was just trying to stay in the game."

The outfielder-turned-first baseman?

"We're a better team than what we've been playing in all aspects of the game," Brad Wilkerson said after making a key error at first base, where he is playing in place of Teixeira.

The quotes are the same. The numbers are the same.

Act 1, Scene 1 also seems quite familiar night after night as the Rangers slip quietly into the night.

Tejeda's night started with Jose Baustista reaching on a double down the line in shallow left field that Frank Catalanlotto couldn't quite reach. Chris Duffy then hit a line drive right at Wilkerson, who tried to go too quickly to second for a potential double play and simply didn't catch the ball.

"A terrible baseball play," Wilkerson said. "I should make that play. That's inexcusable."

That left runners at the corners. Freddy Sanchez then doubled to center to score one run and Jason Bay's grounder to short scored another run. The Rangers were down 2-0 and they now have been outscored 50-20 in the first inning. They have trailed by two or more runs to start a game 30 times.

Washington said the 2-0 deficit didn't bother him. He felt the Rangers could come back against Pirates starter Ian Snell. They had runners at the corners with less than two out in both the second and third innings and didn't score. The Rangers were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Marlon Byrd, who doesn't have a home run at the Major League level this year but was thrust into the cleanup spot, was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers' only run came home on an error. Snell ended up pitching the first complete game of his career.

"Between what happened in the first through the fifth inning, it could have been a 2-2 ballgame," Washington said. "We had some defensive misplays and we just didn't deliver when we had a chance to score some runs."

It wasn't 2-2. It was 4-0 when Tejeda left after four innings, and he is now 5-7 with a 6.49 ERA on the year. Joaquin Benoit pitched the fifth and the Pirates scored four more runs to take an 8-0 lead.

The Rangers have now trailed by five or more runs in a game 27 times, another statistic that is becoming increasingly repetitive.

Just to throw something fresh out there, it's the seventh time the Rangers have had a losing streak of at least three games this season. The Rangers have had just one three-game winning streak of their own.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.