ARLINGTON -- With Prince Fielder, whose three-run homer the previous night sparked the Tigers to a series-opening win, coming to the plate, Rangers manager Ron Washington turned to left-hander Robbie Ross on Saturday.
The rookie reliever's eighth pitch to Fielder was the fourth ball as Ross missed with a fastball that was too far inside. Ross started the next batter, Delmon Young, with another ball before Washington pulled him and put Mike Adams on the mound. Adams loaded the bases but got out of the ninth-inning jam and the Rangers went on to win, 2-1.
"I wanted Robbie to get Fielder, but it didn't happen," Washington said. "He hasn't really been Robbie Ross and I wanted to give him a chance to get some confidence going. But once he walked Fielder and the next pitch was a ball, I had to go get Mike Adams."
Since Ross had a string of 24 consecutive scoreless innings, he has posted a 7.71 ERA in his last 10 outings as his ERA this season has nearly doubled, jumping from 0.95 to 1.82. He's walked nine batters in seven innings over that stretch, eight of them in 3 2/3 innings this month. Ross became the first reliever to win six games in his first 23 career outings in more than three decades this season but has struggled recently.
"He's been, all year, amazing," Washington said. "So now when struggle hits, that's when you become more amazing. You fight through it. I just want him to know that we've got his back. We're not going to stop giving him the ball. But he's got to start throwing the ball in the strike zone. ... He's going to have to find something inside of him, because things have gone astray, to get it back in line. You don't run from not being successful. You face it head on."