OAKLAND -- Scott Feldman is not going to win 20 games this season. He did have about 20 conversations with catcher Taylor Teagarden on the mound on Thursday afternoon and pitching coach Mike Maddox had about 20 different things to say to home-plate umpire Chuck Meriwether. But Feldman's bid for a 20-win season and his eight-game road winning streak came to an end with a 12-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.
The loss dropped the Rangers to seven games behind the Angels in the American League West. The Rangers return home to open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday and still have four games left with the Angels in Anaheim next weekend. But there are just 10 games left in the season, and the Angels' magic number is down to four -- meaning any combination of four Halos wins or Rangers losses ends Texas' postseason hopes. "I just stunk today," Feldman said. "That just pretty much sums it up." The Rangers ended up with a split of the four-game series but have lost five of seven to the last-place Athletics over the past two weeks. "They're playing good baseball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I thought we had a chance to take three out of four from them, and we didn't do it. We split and I'm not happy with that. We just didn't get it done." Feldman, who is 17-6 with a 3.90 ERA and two starts left in the season, has allowed 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings against the Athletics over his last two starts against them. "I don't know what it is; obviously he's a good pitcher," Oakland designated hitter Jack Cust said. "But the last couple time we've put together some really good at-bats against him. He's got a lot of late movement, but we didn't chase anything out of the zone and got his pitch count up there. That takes a toll eventually." Feldman was given a 2-0 lead but couldn't hold it, allowing four runs in the third and three in the fourth. He ended up going just 3 1/3 innings, his second-shortest start of the season, and allowed a season-high seven runs. But it was the season-high five walks that frustrated Feldman and the Rangers. "Everything was just sort of a grind for me today," Feldman said. "I just wasn't able to get out of jams that I created for myself. Walking five guys is never good. I just think all around I struggled with my command." Feldman survived a pair of two-out walks in the second when he got Cliff Pennington on a grounder to first to escape a bases-loaded jam. He wasn't as fortunate in the fourth. Adam Kennedy singled and Rajai Davis struck out to start the inning. Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust then drew walks to load the bases. Feldman did get one big out, enticing Landon Powell to pop out to short left field that kept Kennedy at third. But the reprieve didn't last. Feldman walked Daric Barton on a 3-2 curveball that had the Rangers seething in frustration when it didn't end the inning. Instead it forced in the Athletics' first run and had Maddux yelling from the dugout. That was the pitch that Feldman wanted. "Yeah, that's a good way to describe it," Feldman said. "There were a couple of pitches to Cust, too, that I would have liked to have had. But you can't use those as an excuse. Even after the walk to Barton, we were still leading, 2-1." Washington said he had people look at the video on some pitches and came away with the conclusion that the disputed pitches were off the plate. "Yeah, he missed some, but you're going to miss some," Washington said. "We can't blame the umpires. Scott just didn't look like he was very comfortable out there." Everything unraveled after that. Eric Patterson hit a soft line-drive single to right to score two runs, and Travis Buck beat out an infield single that scored another. "When we didn't get the 3-2 call on Barton with the bases loaded ... once they got that, things started to slip away," Teagarden said. "They did a great job of being patient and fouling off pitches. Scott didn't have his best stuff, but I have to give their hitters a lot of credit. They really battled. They fouled a lot of pitches, worked some walks and got some timely hits." Feldman was hit harder in the fourth, as Kennedy led off with a double and scored on a triple by Davis. Ryan Sweeney's sacrifice fly scored one run, and Cust followed with a long home run to center to make it 7-2. That ended Feldman's day.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.