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September 11, 2013

Wrapping up Pirates sweep of Rangers

The Texas Rangers are reeling after being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates to start a six-game homestand.

Pittsburgh opened the three-game series with a 1-0 victory, then had a 5-4 win and closed it out with a 7-5 victory Wednesday afternoon.

The Rangers trailed by four runs the last two games, but at least threatened with late-inning rallies.

“Yes, but it hasn’t been enough,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “As a team, we’re going through struggles in every phase of the game … obviously it’s more offensively than anything. We need to tidy up everything about the game and find a way to beat the other team. We’re positive that we’re going to get better and we have to execute.”

An off-day couldn’t come at a better time for the struggling team to regroup and get ready for a pivotal three-game series against Oakland.

In the meantime, here are a few postgame notes from Wednesday:

* Matt Garza matched his shortest outing of the season by going only four innings. He allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

“Four walks will kill you,” Garza said. “Fastball location wasn’t there and if that’s not there, nothing else will be. It goes hand in hand, so you have to grind your way through it. Today wasn’t a good ending.”

Garza is now 3-4 with a 4.46 ERA in 10 starts with the Rangers. How does he assess his Texas tenure at this point?

“I’m not happy because I’m not where I want to be,” Garza said. “I’ve got to just keep going. Nothing else. Keep going, keep pitching, keep working and get ready for the next start.”

* The Rangers bullpen worked five innings Wednesday, and has worked four or more innings in three of the last four games.

* The offense went 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and 10-for-26 the last two games. Ian Kinsler went 2-for-2 with RISP; Elvis Andrus tied a career-high with three RBIs; and A.J. Pierzynski had two doubles to match his season high.

* Texas, which won 20 games in August, has lost eight of its 10 games to start September. The Rangers could drop to three games back of the A’s in the American League West, too, if the A’s defeat the Twins later tonight.

-- Drew Davison

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