Frustration building for Rangers' offense
Bats manage just one hit; Hunter solid over 6 1/3 in loss
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are having one of the worst offensive months in club history and this may have been the lowest point.
Manager Ron Washington certainly didn't argue when asked if his team had hit rock-bottom offensively after managing just one hit in a 2-0 loss to Chad Gaudin and the Padres on Sunday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington."Today is," Washington said. "Today is. I don't think you could envision anybody shutting us down on one hit. You can get shut out. Anybody can throw a shutout. But I never envisioned us not putting any pressure on someone. But it happened tonight." It did and the Rangers are now 1 1/2 games behind the Angels going into their three-game series that starts Monday night at the Ballpark. The Rangers absolutely could not get anything going offensively other than one feeble threat in the first inning. Gaudin, who was released by the Cubs in the first week of the season and had a 5.60 ERA coming into the game, held them to one hit through eight innings and Padres closer Heath Bell pitched a scoreless ninth. The Rangers still have two games left in June, but they are now hitting .220 for the month. That would be the Rangers' lowest total for any month since hitting .183 in September, 1972. The previous low for the past 37 years since the inaugural season was a .221 average in September of 1988. "It's definitely hard to believe," outfielder David Murphy said. "It's getting to the point where ... what more can you say? We're just not swinging the bats like we're capable of. I wish I could tell you how to solve the problem." This was the first time in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington in which the Rangers managed just one hit at home. The last time they were one-hit at home was on July 17, 1992 by Baltimore's Mike Mussina at the old Arlington Stadium. Gaudin is only the third pitcher to pitch at least eight innings and allowed one or fewer hits at the Ballpark. Rick Helling did it for the Rangers in a 1997 game when he allowed one hit in eight innings against the Brewers. The other was Kenny Rogers in his perfect game in 1994. "I'm not going to take anything away from Gaudin," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "He went out there and threw a great game. As an offense you like to think we can push runs across no matter who we're facing, but it was a combination of us needing better at-bats and him throwing a good game." The Rangers got the pitching they needed. Tommy Hunter, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, stepped in for Matt Harrison and allowed just two runs in 6 1/3 innings. Scott Hairston did most of the damage. He hit a home run in the fourth and followed Everth Cabrera's triple with an RBI single in the sixth. That was more than enough to beat Hunter. "It felt good but it was still a loss," Hunter said. "That stinks. I tried." Young had the Rangers' only hit. Murphy drew a one-out walk in the first and Young singled to center on a 1-2 changeup. Murphy stopped at second. He was the only Rangers player to get that far in the game and he went no further. Andruw Jones fouled out and Hank Blalock flied out in what would be the Rangers' only at-bats with runners in scoring position. They had three other baserunners on the night on two walks and one error. Even the Rangers, as bad as they have been in June, should be better than that. "We are," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "We're not a team that gets one-hit. But tonight, you honestly have to tip your cap to him. He hit his spots. When we were taking pitches, he would throw a four-seam fastball down the middle. When we were swinging, he was hitting his spots on the corners." The Rangers did have a couple of moments. Elvis Andrus led off the third with a drive into right-center. But on a hot night when the wind wasn't much of a factor, the ball didn't carry and right fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. made a diving catch in the gap. In the seventh, both Byrd and Davis hit deep balls to the warning track in right that Gwynn was able to haul in just in front of the wall. For the Rangers, it was a long night's journey into frustration.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.