They were within one swing of the bat of tying the game or taking the lead all night, but the Texas Rangers never got the timely hit they needed. Instead, the Detroit Tigers held on for a 2-1 victory on Friday at Rangers Ballpark.
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch and four relievers pitched well enough to keep the team within striking distance. But the offense never capitalized on its various opportunities against Tigers starter Rick Porcello and their four relievers.
It was the type of pitching performances – and final score – that most expected Thursday with an anticipated pitching duel between Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander.
“They’re a tough opponent and we’re tough, too,” designated hitter Lance Berkman said. “This was more the kind of game everyone expected last night, but we got to see two pretty good pitching performances and they scored one more than we did.”
Texas had its chances.
Leonys Martin had a one-out triple in the third, but Elvis Andrus lined out to first and Leury Garcia struck out to end the threat. In the fourth, Berkman led off with a single and Adrian Beltre reached on an infield single. But Nelson Cruz bounced into a double play and Mitch Moreland grounded out.
Cruz had another chance in the eighth with runners at the corners and one out, but grounded into a double play yet again. It’s only the second time in his career that he has bounced into two double plays in a game.
“Yeah, no doubt,” Cruz said. “That’s the spot you want to be. You want to be there and want to give the team the lead. But nothing I can do … it’s done. Tomorrow if I get a chance, try to get it done again.”
The Rangers finished the game by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Here are a few other notes:
* Berkman wasn’t too heart broken over losing a potential stolen base to a balk call in the fourth inning. “I was just trying to get in scoring position for Adrian and it worked out,” Berkman said. “Balk, stolen base … it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not trying to set the record for stolen bases or anything.”
* Nick Tepesch pitched well and battled out of jams, allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout over five innings. But he received two-or-fewer runs support for the fourth time in his last five starts.
* Robbie Ross threw two scoreless innings and now has a 0.48 ERA. He has stranded 16 of 17 inherited runners this season.-- Drew Davison