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Rangers try to regroup following loss

Rangers try to regroup following loss

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers gathered as a team after this one, their first postgame meeting of the season.

A five-game losing streak will lead to some self-analysis and post-mortem, especially when the Rangers have had a lead in each of the past four games.

This time the Rangers had an early two-run lead before their offense disappeared for much of the rest of the night and they ended up losing to the Orioles, 7-5, in 10 innings at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday night.

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"We're going to stay confident," third baseman Michael Young said. "That's one thing about this club, is we never lose confidence. We're going to keep playing and keep playing hard. We have a good team and we know we're a good team. We're going to stay after it because we know a hot streak is right around the corner."

Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th and Luke Scott later added a two-run double against reliever Eddie Guardado to win it for the Orioles.

"Terrible isn't it," Guardado said afterward. "Obviously I've got to do a better job. I know that stuff happens and that's baseball, but the way things are going, I've got to bear down out there and do my job, and I didn't do it. I felt great but the results weren't great. I got the ball up and I paid for it."

The Rangers did get a combined three scoreless innings from C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco but the four runs given up by Guardado raised the bullpen's overall ERA to 8.17 after eight games.

The 10th inning might have been a spot for Jason Jennings, who has yet to give up a run in three appearances. But he was unavailable to go back-to-back games after throwing 19 pitches on Monday night.

"They had some lefties coming up and I thought Eddie could get through it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It didn't work that way. ... I have confidence in my bullpen."

Washington seemed more distraught that the Rangers haven't been able to hold a lead of late. They led 3-1 after two innings on solo home runs by Young, Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis but the Orioles tied it up with a run in the third and a run in the fourth off Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy.

Orioles starter Alfredo Simon had to leave the game in the second inning because of tightness in his right elbow but four middle relievers shut down the Rangers for 7 2/3 innings.

"I think we're playing well," Washington said. "We've got to get some outs after we put some runs on the board instead of constantly having to come back and constantly fighting. I'd like to see us put some zeroes on the board and keep the momentum on our side. We just have to keep fighting. It's going to happen."

Maybe, but the Rangers also know what happened the past two Aprils. They are now 23-37 for the month over the past three years.

"We need to stay positive," said left fielder David Murphy, who made a tremendous catch crashing into the left-field wall in the sixth inning but is still looking for his first hit of the season.

"It would be easy to get down on ourselves and let this snowball," Murphy said. "That was one of the things that was mentioned after the game. All we can do is stay positive. We had the heart and character in the end to put together some great at-bats and make a game of it. Now we have to carry that over to tomorrow and we'll be fine."

The Rangers, trailing 7-3, did almost stage a dramatic rally in the bottom of the tenth against Orioles All-Star left-handed closer George Sherrill. Four straight singles scored one run and Josh Hamilton's bases-loaded grounder that forced a runner at third brought him another run.

That brought up Hank Blalock, the Rangers cleanup hitter, with Cruz on deck.

Blalock worked the count 1-1, then hit a fly ball to deep right. On a night where balls were flying out of the park earlier, this one too appeared to have a chance.

"I was like 'Maybe,' because you never know with this ballpark," center fielder Jones said. "In the summer, I'm pretty sure that might get out."

Instead, Nick Markakis caught the ball on the warning track for the second out.

Sherrill said he didn't think Blalock's was going out, but he got one more fright before he was able to walk off the mound. Cruz worked the count full and then launched a high fly ball to deep left-center.

"The Cruz ball, I thought was gone," added Sherrill of the twin deep fly balls. "Blalock, I thought he got under it too much. But luckily, Cruz hit it to the biggest part of the park -- or one of them."

This time Jones went back to the edge of the warning track and brought the Rangers' last-ditch rally to a futile end.

"I thought it had a chance," Cruz said afterwards, sitting and staring into his locker. "I hit it a little bit in front."

It was the final swing on a frustrating night for the Rangers.

"Yeah man ... " Cruz said. "We've got to win. We've got to find a way to win."

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

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