High scoring output not enough

High scoring output not enough

ARLINGTON -- For the first time in club history, the Rangers have scored at least eight runs in five straight games.

The amazing thing is they've only won two of them. They scored nine on Wednesday night, including six in five innings off American League ERA leader Cliff Lee, and still couldn't win.

The Indians, with the game tied after five innings, scored nine runs off newly arrived reliever Elizardo Ramirez in the sixth and seventh innings and pulled away to a 15-9 victory over the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday night. The Rangers have lost three of their last four games while their pitchers have given up 48 runs in 36 innings.

"We're not pitching good right now," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "That's the bottom line. We're swinging the bats well right now. But there have been times when the pitching has been good, but we didn't swing the bats well. We've got to get them both together."

Rangers pitchers also have a 6.28 ERA over the past 17 games. Despite playing well for much of the past six weeks, the Rangers are still just 8-9 in the last 17 games while their pitchers have been struggling.

"It's not for a lack of trying," catcher Gerald Laird said. "Those guys are busting their tails out there on the mound. But they fall behind, walk guys and the next thing you know they leave a ball up and the other guys hit it hard. It's frustrating. We've got to do something different. They're out their busting their tails, we just need to figure it out."

Sidney Ponson's experiment with pitching on three days' rest didn't go too well either. He lasted just four innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks. However, only two of the six runs were earned.

Errors by shortstop Michael Young and right fielder Milton Bradley led to four runs in the second and Kinsler's throwing error in the fourth led to another run.

"None of us can walk out of here tonight with our heads held high," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "None of us played very good tonight."

The good news for the Rangers is their core relievers had a full night off and they have Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla pitching the next two nights. That gives them a chance to get their pitching staff back into some semblance of order.

"Starting tomorrow we should get everything back into line," manager Ron Washington said.

Young, with three hits, also extended his hitting streak to a Major League-high 20 straight games and Kinsler, going 2-for-5, is right behind him with a 19-game streak.

The tough part was scoring six runs in five innings off Lee -- who had a 1.88 ERA entering the game -- and not getting the win. The Rangers problem early in the game was every time they scored off Lee, the Indians came right back and scored the very next inning.

"We couldn't get the shutdown inning," Washington said. "Physical mistakes happen. We kept on fighting and got back in the game. They just put more runs on the board than we did."

Kinsler led off the first with a triple and scored on Young's grounder to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. But the Indians took advantage of the Rangers sloppy fielding to take a 4-1 lead in the top of the second.

The Rangers struck back with four of their own in the third. Kinsler led off with an infield single and scored on Young's double into the left-center field gap. Josh Hamilton followed with a single to left, driving home Young for his 68th RBI of the season and Bradley put the Rangers ahead with a two-run home run to left, his third homer in two nights against one of his former teams.

But again, the Rangers couldn't hold the lead. Grady Sizemore tied the game with a one-out home run off of Ponson in the top of the fourth. Ben Francisco, who was 5-for-6 on the night, then singled, went to third on Kinsler's throwing error off a potential double-play grounder and scored on Ryan Garko's single.

Washington, hoping to keep the game close on a night when he was trying to rest as many relievers as possible, turned to Ramirez in the fifth and he responded by retiring the side in order. That allowed the Rangers to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a single by Byrd and a triple by Brandon Boggs.

But everything fell apart after that for Ramirez. Garko put the Indians ahead with a two-out run single in the sixth and David Dellucci followed that with a three-run home run. They added four more runs in the seventh before Kameron Loe took over and brought sanity back to the Rangers pitching staff with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

But that and the three runs in the ninth were simply too late.

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