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05/02/07 12:45 AM ET
Rangers shut down by Yanks phenom
Blalock breaks up no-hitter with late double in blowout defeat
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- On Tuesday night, the Rangers were within six outs of being just the 11th team in Major League history to have two no-hitters thrown against them in one season. They avoided that embarrassment first when Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes left the game in the seventh inning with a left hamstring injury, then when Hank Blalock led off the eighth with a double off reliever Mike Myers. But this was still a bad night all around for a team that has seen a few rough games in the first one-sixth of the season. The Rangers finished with more errors in the field than hits at plate, and that summed up their night in a 10-1 loss at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Hughes, in his second Major League start, had a no-hitter going when he walked off the field with one out in the seventh. The Rangers have lost three straight games for the fourth time this season. "Two hits, that's just not good enough," shortstop Michael Young said. "The guy threw a good game, but you still have to take responsibility. I don't care if the guy is a combination of Cy Young, Roger Clemens and Sandy Koufax, you still have to find a way to get the job done. Even if you have to go up there and hit left-handed, you've got to chip away and score some runs." Myers replaced Hughes and kept the no-hitter going through seven innings, getting Mark Teixeira on a flyout and Victor Diaz on a grounder to second. But Blalock doubled to lead off the eighth and scored on Ian Kinsler's single to spare the Rangers a repeat of what White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle did to them in Chicago two weeks ago. The last team to be no-hit twice in one season was the San Diego Padres, who were victimized by Florida's A.J. Burnett and St. Louis' Bud Smith in 2001. The 1977 California Angels were the last American League team, and one of the no-hitters thrown against them was tossed by Bert Blyleven of the Rangers. "He commanded his fastball really well and he kept us off balance with his curve," outfielder Brad Wilkerson said of Hughes. "He got in a groove throwing a lot of fastballs. I think he threw a great game, but hopefully, I think we would have made an adjustment on the fastball and got to him. We had some decent swings." Offense was hardly the Rangers' only problem. Starter Kameron Loe gave up nine runs (seven earned) in four-plus innings, thanks in part to the three errors. The Rangers have allowed 16 unearned runs in 26 games, second most in the AL behind the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rangers manager Ron Washington is trying to remain positive, but he did admit that, behind closed doors, "I'm telling my guys it's not acceptable." Said Washington, "They're busting their tails out there. It's got to be frustrating. But it's a long year, and those guys want to do well. We just have to make sure we stay in their corner until things turn around and not turn our backs on them." Loe started off strong with a scoreless first inning, but a couple of errors by Wilkerson in left field and Young at shortstop led to two unearned runs in the second. The Yankees then got to Loe with four runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead and three more in the fifth to make it 9-0. "I got the ball up," Loe said. "The pitches that were down, starting at the knees, they took them. The pitches that I got up, they hit them. They took advantage of my mistakes. I definitely wasn't intimidated. I can go out there and do the job against any team. I just didn't get it done tonight." Rangers starters are now 7-14 with a 6.48 ERA on the season. They have gone eight straight games without a quality start and are 1-5 with an 8.26 ERA in that stretch. "We have quality pitchers," Washington said. "We can't be too pleased, because we're not getting the starts you'd like to have. But we have to trust the guys out there. They're capable. We can't turn our backs on them. We've got to stay positive and hope it turns around. What we've got is what we've got. It's what we have to go to war with." Through it all, the Rangers are trying to stay positive. "I don't think anybody is frustrated," Young said. "If you get frustrated, it's going to be a long year. Our record is not where we want it to be, but if we put a hot streak together, we're going to be right there." Said catcher Gerald Laird: "Look at the bright side. We're four games out, and we haven't made a move. If we stay positive, things will turn around. We have a long way to go."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.