ARLINGTON -- When it was over after 11 innings and the Rangers had to settle for a split of their four-game series with the Angels, there was still a trace of defiance in the clubhouse. "It was a loss," second baseman Ian Kinsler said after the Rangers went down, 11-10, in 11 innings on Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "But hopefully, now everybody in this clubhouse knows we have a good ballclub and can win this division this year." The Rangers trailed, 10-4, in this one after 4 1/2 innings and ended up leaving the ballpark believing they let a victory get away from them. An electrifying throw by left-fielder Brandon Boggs to cut down the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning was just one of many plays that had the Rangers believing they could pull this one out.
"We should have won this game tonight," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "It just didn't go our way at the end. You could look over at their dugout and tell they knew they were beaten. We just gave them some breathing room. We got the hits early, we just didn't get them late." Instead, the Angels got the last hit that counted, a jam-shot bloop single by Maicer Izturis into shallow center field with two out in the top of the 11th inning off of reliever Jamey Wright to drive home the winning run. Garret Anderson started the Angels' winning rally with a single up the middle and was bunted to second by Reggie Willits. Wright then struck out Howie Kendrick, but Izturis, pinch-hitting for catcher Jeff Mathis, got enough of a 1-2 cut fastball to muscle it over shortstop Michael Young's head for the game-winning hit. "Losing it on a doinker to center, that's not a fun way to get a loss," Wright said. "It was a good pitch, a cutter in, and he flopped it out there." The Rangers still had one more short and again had to face All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez. The Rangers had beat him with three runs on Wednesday night and almost pulled it out again. For the second straight night, Rodriguez started the inning with a walk, this time against Boggs. Max Ramirez, who hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning, was asked to bunt and popped it up. But Rodriguez let it drop, then threw wildly to second base. It looked like Rodriguez deliberately let the ball drop trying to get a double play but he said that wasn't case. "I missed it," Rodriguez said. "I just saw the ball pop up and I broke hard. When I looked up, it was over my head. I tried to set my feet, but I panicked and the ball ended up in center field." The Rangers, with runners at first and second, also had Ian Kinsler, the league's leading hitter, try to sacrifice, but he too popped it up, leaving the runners on first and second. "We were trying to get the winning run to second base," said manager Ron Washington, who watched the last four innings from the clubhouse after being ejected for the second time this season. Rodriguez then struck out Ramon Vazquez and got Young on a grounder to second to end the game. The Rangers finished the game with 20 hits but needed one more to finish the comeback and couldn't get it. They were just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-6 after they tied it up on Ramirez's home run in the seventh. This marked only the third time in club history in which the Rangers finished with 20 hits in a game and lost. They had 15 against Angels starter John Lackey. "We played hard and we played well," Young said. "We did everything we could just to win the games we did. That's the way we've played the whole season. That's the style of the way we played the game." Kinsler had a single in the second inning, extending his hitting streak to 22 games, and Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run in the fourth, giving him 91 RBIs on the season. That's tied for the fifth-most RBIs before the All-Star break in Major League history. Hamilton's home run gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead, but the Angels scored five in the fourth off of Scott Feldman, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs in his worst start of the season. Kendrick's second home run of the game -- a two-run shot off Wes Littleton in the fifth -- gave the Angels a 10-4 lead, but that was almost their high-water mark offensively. The Rangers' comeback began in the bottom of the fifth when Byrd hit a home run off Lackey. Singles by Ramirez, Vazquez and Young made it 10-6 in the sixth, and then the Rangers rallied to tie in the seventh off of Angels relievers Darren Oliver and Scot Shields. Byrd, with one out, singled to right and scored when Chris Davis doubled to right-center, a ball that hit the top of the wall in right-center and bounced back onto the field. Washington thought the ball should have been ruled a home run and was ejected for arguing the point too long. But it didn't matter. After Shields replaced Oliver, Davis scored on a single up the middle by Boggs and Ramirez tied it up on the next pitch with a home run over the left-field wall. A crowd of 23,262 gave Ramirez a standing ovation and kept it up until he came out of the dugout for a curtain call. But that truly proved to be the high water mark for the Rangers' offense. "When we got to the fifth, nobody thought we were in the game, but we fought back," Washington said. "From the eighth inning on, we were just one swing of the bat away. It didn't happen, but we fought like warriors."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.