Long balls do in Rangers

Long balls do in Rangers

DETROIT -- The Rangers were hoping to get off to a good start this season. Instead, they have done the reverse.

They are off to one of the worst starts in franchise history after one of the roughest road trips in the 36 years since they arrived in Texas.

The Rangers claimed that distinction when their losing streak hit seven with an 8-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Field on Thursday afternoon. Detroit hit five home runs off Jason Jennings and Kazuo Fukumori on the afternoon and Texas dropped to 7-16 on the season.

That's tied for the worst record after 23 games in club history. The 1982 club also started 7-16 on the way to a final record of 64-98.

"It's tough," shortstop Michael Young said. "The last seven games -- no way around it -- have been difficult. But there's no sense licking our wounds or feeling sorry for ourselves. This is the big leagues. You can't feel sorry for yourselves. You've got to find a way to make adjustments and move on.

"We've got tons of time. We don't need to look at the standings or our record. It's not necessary. We have to go out there with a positive attitude and make adjustments. We need to play better in every facet of the game."

The Rangers, after a 2-7 road trip that began with two victories in Toronto and quickly fell apart, return home to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to play the Twins on Friday night.

"We went through a bad trek where we lost seven in a row. We can go back home and win seven in a row," manager Ron Washington said. "We need to keep our heads up. The guys are still battling. We have to put something together ... and get some hits with runners in scoring position."

The Rangers did not do that on Thursday afternoon. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, including a couple of key moments before Magglio Ordonez finally broke the game open with a three-run home run in the fifth.

The Rangers walked eight times, but had just four hits, including two in the first eight innings. They had two on with one out against Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman in the third, but Josh Hamilton hit into a force play and Hank Blalock struck out. They had bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, but Adam Melhuse grounded out to end the inning.

The Rangers are hitting .194 on the season with runners in scoring position.

"We just couldn't deliver the hit," Washington said. "We had chances to drive in runs with two outs and didn't get it done. We're getting them out there, we just have to get them in."

Jennings was pitching on short notice. The Rangers wanted to give him a couple extra days rest and move him back to Saturday, and Jennings was preparing for that. But Texas changed that late on Wednesday after its bullpen was decimated in a 19-6 loss. The club decided it would be better if Jennings started with Scott Feldman backing him up as a long reliever.

Jennings was fine through four but, with the score tied at 2, got in trouble in the fifth with a two-out walk to Placido Polanco and a single by Marcus Thames. That brought up Ordonez, who had hit a fastball into the left-field seats in the third inning.

In the fifth, Jennings fell behind, 3-1, in the count. He could have just passed on Ordonez, but Miguel Cabrera was sitting in the on-deck circle.

"That's why I threw a slider," Jennings said. "I just wasn't going to throw a fastball. Hopefully, I was going to fool him just enough to get out front on the ball. You can't pitch around anybody in this lineup."

Ordonez was sitting on the pitch and hit it into the left-field seats for a three-run home run that gave the Tigers a 5-2 lead.

"The fifth inning, I walked Polanco and made a couple of bad pitches to Thames," Jennings said. "Letting those guys on base in front of the big guys was my biggest mistake. I felt I was throwing the ball good. It's frustrating to get the results I did today."

The Rangers know the feeling: Today ... the road trip ... the season.

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