Pitching struggles surface in finale

Pitching struggles surface in finale

ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Scott Feldman faced just 18 batters on Wednesday night, tying for the fewest in a start for him this season.

On the other hand, Rangers batters struck out 18 times on Wednesday, one shy of the club record in a nine-inning game.

Put 18 and 18 together and it easily added up to a 13-5 loss to the Tigers before 33,235 fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, preventing the Rangers from sweeping their three-game series.

Instead the Rangers fell back to 3 1/2 games behind the Angels in the American League West as they get ready for a four-game series with the Mariners that starts Thursday at Rangers Ballpark.

"It wasn't our night tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They came out swinging the bats and never stopped. If you play enough games, you're going to have one like this. Tonight their bats were on. They got hits, all kinds of hits: doubles, chinks, broken bats. There was nothing we could do."

Feldman's short start will likely dictate a roster move Thursday. Warner Madrigal is expected to replace Guillermo Moscoso, who was needed for 3 1/3 innings in relief.

Feldman gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings, marking only the fourth time in 18 starts he was unable to pitch at least six innings. He went at least five innings in the other three starts, including five shutout innings [facing 18 hitters] against the Dodgers on June 13 before a power failure.

"It was just an all-around awful job," Feldman said. "Bad command cost me the most. I was not executing my pitches. It was just a frustrating night."

This was Feldman's worst start since last Aug. 12 in Boston when he allowed 12 runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. That was the night the Rangers trailed 12-2 in the third, led 16-15 after seven and ended up losing 19-17.

There was no such drama on Wednesday night against All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander, who held the Rangers to four runs on six hits in seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 13. Relievers Brandon Lyon and Casey Fien struck out five more, marking the fifth time in club history the Rangers struck out 18 or more times in a game.

"You gotta tip your cap to their whole team," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "Verlander threw a great game, they had, what, 19 hits. You just gotta file it away and move on."

Feldman, on the other hand, faced 18 batters and 12 of them reached base on 10 hits and two walks. It could have been worse, but Feldman ended the three-run second inning by snatching Magglio Ordonez's vicious line drive back to the mound and turning it into an inning-ending double play.

Curtis Granderson put the Tigers ahead just three pitches into the game by hitting a 2-0 fastball into the right-field seats for his second game-leadoff home run of the series. He did so on Monday against Tommy Hunter before the Rangers rallied for a 5-2 victory.

There were no such comebacks like that one or a year ago in Boston. There was only more from Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, who had four hits and four RBIs, and Adam Everett, the Tigers' No. 9 hitter who enjoyed a three-hit night.

Everett reached on an infield hit with one out in the second inning and Granderson followed with another drive deep into the right-field seats for a two-run home run, his second of the night, third of the series and 22nd of the year.

"Both of those pitches were location: ball down the middle and didn't move,' Feldman said. "You can't make a mistake like that against a guy like him. He's got some pop, that's for sure."

A double by Placido Polanco and a single by Carlos Guillen made it 4-0. Andruw Jones hit his 16th home run of the season off Verlander in the bottom of the second, but the Tigers scored two more off Feldman in the third.

Moscoso, just up from Triple-A Oklahoma, took over but the Tigers offense didn't miss a beat. The Tigers scored at least one run in each of the first seven innings.

The Rangers, down 8-1, scored three off Verlander in the fifth inning. But, with runners on second and third, Verlander struck out David Murphy and Marlon Byrd to end the threat.

"That's what he does," Byrd said. "He comes out throwing 90-92 [mph], then he gets into trouble and he's throwing 96-100. There is a reason why he leads the world in strikeouts. When he has guys out there with runners in scoring position, he steps up his game. You have to do that as well."

The Rangers couldn't. Jones hit another home run in the ninth inning, but the two by Granderson had already helped settle the issue.

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