OAKLAND -- Kurt Suzuki's first-inning home run might have been enough. After all, the Rangers never did push across a run against Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez or three relievers on Tuesday. As third baseman Michael Young said, "The name of the game is scoring runs, and we didn't." Added Marlon Byrd, "We stink. ... That's my quote."
But the Rangers, besides their anemic five-hit offense, had some strange things happen to them and it all added up to 6-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum. The Athletics had one run score when an easy grounder right at Hank Blalock hit the first-base bag and skipped past him for a hit. Another scored when miscommunication between second baseman Joaquin Arias and shortstop Elvis Andrus kept the Rangers from turning an inning-ending double play. Derek Holland's throwing error led to a fourth run, and Arias had an errant two-out throw in the eighth that set up Oakland's final two runs. "A bad day for me defensively," Arias said. He wasn't the only one disappointed with his night. Holland wasn't happy either. He went 8 2/3 innings in a 7-1 victory against the Mariners on Thursday but lasted only half as long against the Athletics. He went 4 1/3 on Tuesday, which wasn't exactly what he was looking for after his terrific performance against the Mariners. "Definitely not," Holland said. "I put a little pressure on myself after the last outing to match that, pinpointing things and trying to do too much. I'm still learning." This was just a ragged game all around for the Rangers, who spent much of the game vainly trying to hit Gonzalez's curveball. "That curveball was a ball," Andruw Jones said. "We knew that at the beginning of the game, and we couldn't lay off it. You look at the game, he threw it about five times for a strike. Every other time was a ball. We kept chasing it and getting ourselves in a hole. Sharp bite? Yes, but 90 percent of the time it's a ball." The Rangers were shut out for the fifth time this season. They had five hits, three walks and struck out 11 times. They have struck out 10 or more times in 31 games this season and are 12-19 in those games. They are 34-36 in games in which they walk three or less times. "I think [Gonzalez] has an above-average curveball," Young said. "He located it well and kept it down in the zone. But at the same time it's our responsibility as an offense to make adjustments and we didn't do it." The Rangers got a pretty good idea this wouldn't be their night in the second inning. The Athletics had a runner at second with two outs when Mark Ellis hit a grounder toward Blalock, only to have the ball hit the bag and veer out to right field. That made it 2-0. Holland, after setting down the side in order in the third, got himself in trouble with one out in the fourth when he walked three straight hitters. "I was not happy with that at all," Holland said. "I was trying to make too perfect of a pitch and the ball was getting away." Ellis followed with a chopper up the middle. Both Arias and Andrus had a play. But Arias cut in front of Andrus, fielded the ball and missed second base when he tried for the force. He then threw to first base too late and the run scored. "It's a common-sense play," manager Ron Washington said. "If you can't turn the double play, you've got to at least get the out at second." That still would have allowed the run to score. The Rangers needed a double play and Andrus was in perfect position: behind Arias and right on top of the bag. "I didn't see him," Arias said. "We were playing [Ellis] to pull and I got to the ball first." Holland walked Athletics leadoff hitter Rajai Davis with one out in the fifth, then threw wild on a pickoff throw. Davis went to third and later, after Jason Jennings replaced Holland, scored on a sacrifice fly. That made it 4-0 and by then it was obvious the Rangers were going quietly into the night. But weird things kept happening and Ellis was always in the middle of it. The Athletics had runners at the corners with two outs in the eighth against Doug Mathis. Ellis hit a grounder into the right side hole that Arias grabbed but his throw to first was off target. Ellis was credited with his third hit of the night. "I felt terrible at the plate but got some lucky breaks," Ellis said. The last one snapped Mathis' 22-inning scoreless streak as a reliever and a single by Cliff Pennington brought home another run. "Our defense let us down in a sense and some luck went their way in a sense," Washington said. "You hate to see stuff like that happen because we take pride in our defense. We've got to come back tomorrow, score some runs and play baseball the way we can."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.