"We liked where we were," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "We put ourselves in position to make a push at the end. But I don't consider this a deflating loss. It's not anything we're going to lose sleep over. It would have been great to grab a W and take it into the doubleheader tomorrow, but we're a very confident club. We always seem to bounce back when things don't go well, and I expect us to do that again."
The Rangers are now four games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card chase and six games behind the Angels in the American League West. Yet the Rangers, who have lost eight of 13, still believe it would have been a different game if they had been able to take the lead in either the sixth or the seventh.
"Oh gosh yes," said outfielder Marlon Byrd, who also just missed hitting a lead-changing three-run home run in the sixth. "The pressure would have been back on them, and we keep momentum in our favor. Instead our momentum slowed down."
The game was a nightmare for Rangers rookie starter Derek Holland, who suffered through his worst and shortest start of the season. Holland gave up 10 earned runs in three-plus innings. He is the 11th starter in Rangers history to give up 10 runs in a game but the first to give up 10 earned runs since Doug Davis allowed 10 to the Blue Jays on Aug. 9, 1999.
"It was a pitiful performance," Holland said. "I had terrible command. Just a big letdown."
Holland put the Rangers down 5-0 in the first inning. Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas capped the rally with a three-run home run, but Holland was the most frustrated with two walks in the inning that ended up scoring. That's why he was yelling at himself as he walked off the mound at the end of the inning.
"It was very frustrating," Holland said. "Walks killed me. I'm huge on walks. It's not good to have that many walks. That's unacceptable. I couldn't establish any of my pitches. Everything was off."
The Blue Jays added two more in the third, and Adam Lind hit a grand slam off Holland in the fourth. That was the end of Holland's night. Barajas' home run off Doug Mathis made it 11-0 in the top of the fifth.
Then the Rangers suddenly came alive. They had two hits through four innings against Blue Jays rookie starter Brett Cecil, including a single by Young that extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Then the Rangers erupted for seven runs in the fifth. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run triple, and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run home run, and it was 11-7.
They added two more in the sixth on a single by Taylor Teagarden, a walk to Elvis Andrus and a pair of RBI singles by Kinsler and Josh Hamilton. The inning ended with the Rangers down two when Byrd flied out to deep left-center field.
"Too high," Byrd said. "I hit it well. ... It's a game of inches, and I came up a little short on that one."
Davis missed by even less than that in the eighth. With one out, David Murphy and Teagarden led off with singles, putting runners at the corners. Davis, facing Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs, then launched a drive to deep center and Wells had to make a leaping catch against the wall. Murphy tagged and scored but that was the high-water mark of the Rangers comeback.
Downs and Jason Frasor put an end to it by retiring the last eight Rangers on the night. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, had one more big inning as they scored seven runs off of Jason Grilli and Pedro Strop in the ninth to blow the game open again.
But manager Ron Washington made it clear that if the Rangers had taken the lead in the seventh, it would have been Neftali Feliz and Frank Francisco in the final two innings rather than Grilli and Strop. C.J. Wilson was given the night off.
"It wasn't our night on the hill," Washington said. "We hung in there and fought hard. We just couldn't stop them."