All of a sudden, the Texas Rangers are struggling just to score a run.
The Rangers look to shake a frustrating offensive slump Monday when they open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Texas (47-45) lost 4-0 to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, settling for a split of its four-game series. The Rangers, who had just five singles in the loss, have scored just one run in their last 23 innings.
Their only run since the fourth inning of Friday night’s 2-1 win came after a Baltimore error.
“You always have to give credit where credit is due. They pitched well,” said Rangers All-Star shortstop Michael Young, who went 2-for-16 in the series and snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a sixth-inning single. “We just didn’t get it done. We have to find ways to score runs.”
The Rangers, who outscored the Orioles 17-2 in the first two games of the series, also have gone consecutive games without an extra-base hit for the first time since Aug. 2000. They fell to second place in the AL West, one game behind Oakland, which beat Boston 8-1 on Sunday.
“One thing we might have to do is take a step back. Just relax a little bit more, have a little more fun up there,” Young said. “I think that way we’ll develop a little more of a rhythm, be more consistent.”
Toronto starter Ted Lilly (8-8, 4.07 ERA) will try to keep the Rangers struggling. Lilly allowed a season high-tying five runs and six hits in five innings of the Blue Jays’ 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on July 8, but did not receive a decision. He had been 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his previous four starts.
Lilly is 3-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 11 career appearances, including 10 starts, against the Rangers. He has lost his last three starts against them, all in Texas, including a 6-1 defeat on July 3 in which he allowed two runs in six innings but was outpitched by John Rheinnecker.
Texas will counter with John Koronka (6-5, 4.63), who did not receive a decision July 9 after he allowed two runs and six hits in five innings of the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. The rookie left-hander has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last five starts, but has lasted more than six innings in just one of those outings—a 3-2 loss to Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays on July 4 in which he gave up three runs in eight innings.
Koronka’s only other start against the Blue Jays came on June 6, 2005, while he was still with the Chicago Cubs. He allowed four runs and six hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss—his first career defeat.
The Blue Jays (51-40) beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 Sunday on Frank Catalanotto’s game-winning, 11th-inning RBI single. Toronto, which won 7-6 in 14 innings on Saturday, improved to 5-0 in extra innings this season.
Closer B.J. Ryan allowed a tying homer in the ninth and blew just his second save opportunity in 26 chances this season. It was the first homer allowed by Ryan since Boston’s David Ortiz hit a three-run shot off him on June 2, 2005, when he was closer for the Baltimore Orioles.
Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus left Sunday’s game with a sore right knee.