Padilla struggles in loss to O's

Padilla struggles in loss to O's

BALTIMORE -- Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla isn't going back to New York. His All-Star hopes have seemed to have gone down in a two-start ball of flame.

The Rangers' main concern now is having him healthy for the rest of the season, and right now Padilla is not sure if he'll be able to make his next start against the Angels on Wednesday.

Padilla walked off the field Friday evening with a muscle strain in two spots on the right side of his neck and a bruised right thumb after giving up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings in the Rangers' 10-4 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. The two maladies brought to an end his worst start since allowing seven runs in three innings against the Tigers on April 22.

Padilla had x-rays on his thumb and the results were negative. But the strained neck seems far more troublesome and it's what puts his next start against the Angels in doubt.

"This thing is bothering me," Padilla said, pointing to his neck. "So I'm not sure if I will be done with that and be able to pitch on five days' rest. I have to wait. I have to see."

The Rangers' rotation is banged up right now. Eric Hurley was scratched from Saturday's start with tightness in his left hamstring. Scott Feldman, who was supposed to get extra rest, will start in his place. The Rangers are hoping Hurley can pitch on Tuesday against the Angels. Kevin Millwood had to come out of his last start with a bruised right shin, but is still supposed to pitch on Sunday against the Orioles.

The Rangers pulled right-hander Dustin Nippert out of Friday's start for Triple-A Oklahoma just in case he is needed at the Major League level.

Manager Ron Washington also expressed hope that Padilla will be able to make that next start.

"He'll be off tomorrow and then start throwing the next day," Washington said. "We'll see how it goes. I don't anticipate him not making it."

Padilla bruised his thumb on the last pitch he threw, a line drive by Freddie Bynum that ended up in center field for a two-run single. Padilla said he has felt the neck problem in his last two starts. If so, the results are evident.

Padilla allowed seven runs in six innings in a 7-4 loss to the Phillies last Saturday. He is now 10-5 on the season and in his last two starts his ERA has gone up from 3.74 to 4.70.

"The last two games he might not have been hitting his spots," Washington said. "Today he left the ball over the plate and they hit it. They jumped on him early."

Friday marked only the third time in 185 career starts that Padilla has given up eight runs in a game, and this is also the first time he's given up seven runs or more in two straight starts.

"There's still no excuses," Padilla said. "They scored eight runs. I left everything in the middle. I can not say I made good pitches."

Padilla left trailing, 8-1, and that was too steep of a disadvantage for the Rangers to overcome. Ian Kinsler did manage to go 2-for-4, though, to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Josh Hamilton walked with two outs and scored on a double by Milton Bradley. But that lead didn't last long.

The Orioles erased it in the bottom of the first when Markakis doubled to right and scored on a single by Aubrey Huff. The Orioles then went to work with the bottom of their order in the third.

Kevin Millar, their No. 7 hitter, walked with one out, Adam Jones singled to right and both scored when Brandon Fahey lined a double to left. He scored on a two-out single by Markakis to make it 4-1.

The Rangers' inability to turn an inning-ending double play cost Padilla in the third. He gave up one run when Luke Scott doubled, Melvin Mora walked and Millar singled to center. Adam Jones, with runners at the corners, followed with a sharp grounder at third baseman Ramon Vazquez, which could have been an inning-ending double play.

But Vazquez fumbled the ball and had to settle for a force at second while another run scored. Fahey then doubled, sending Jones to third, and both runners scored on Markakis' single up the middle off Padilla's thumb.

"They didn't turn a double play," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Jones hit a ball that should have been a double play and they didn't turn it, and it opened up the inning. You just can't do that in the big leagues. It forces your pitcher to make extra pitches. Hitters smell it."

Warner Madrigal, who was torn apart by the Yankees on Wednesday night in his Major League debut, took over for Padilla. He was too late to salvage this game but Madrigal did a 180 degree turn from Wednesday's debacle by retiring seven straight hitters. That was the little good news the Rangers received from their pitching staff on Friday.

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