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05/30/07 7:58 PM ET
Rangers sending out a Mayday
Lefty Koronka allows 10 hits, six runs in just 5 1/3 innings
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Rangers were 10-15 in April, and manager Ron Washington was relieved when the month was over. He was hoping for better things in May. But if he was relieved when April is over, he's going to be positively giddy when May comes to an end. One more loss and it's the worst May in club history. It has already been pretty bad, and it got worse on Wednesday afternoon when the Rangers managed just one run on four hits over eight innings against Dan Haren and lost to the Oakland Athletics, 6-1, at McAfee Coliseum. The Rangers are now 9-19 in May, tying the 1990 and 2001 teams for the worst May record in club history. They have one more game on Thursday night in Seattle and are in danger of suffering their 10th 20-loss month in club history. That would seem to be frustrating, but ... "I hate the word frustrating," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We're not a good team. We're not playing well. If you don't play well, you don't expect to win." That pretty much sums it up. "What do we need?" shortstop Michael Young said. "We just need to win some games." Getting their starting pitching straightened out would help, but John Koronka couldn't match Mike Wood's effort from the night before. Koronka, in his second spot start this month, came up from Triple-A Oklahoma but was no match for Haren, giving up six runs in 5 1/3 innings. "It was just embarrassing," Koronka said. "I couldn't throw my offspeed pitches for strikes. It was pretty bad. I looked at the video and out of  pitches, I think I threw just one offspeed pitch that they didn't swing at that was called a strike. It was a bad day to have one of those games." The Rangers, as they have done for much of the season, fell behind immediately in the first inning. Koronka walked Shannon Stewart to start the inning and gave up a one-out single to Nick Swisher. Koronka got Milton Bradley on a screaming line drive right at right fielder Marlon Byrd, but Dan Johnson followed with a triple down the right-field line that gave the Athletics a 2-0 lead. The Rangers have now been outscored 37-11 in the first inning, and Wednesday marked the 24th time that they have trailed by two or more runs to start a game. Wednesday also marked the 32nd time in 53 games that the opposing team has scored first. The Rangers have rallied to win just six of those games. "It's been tough, but it's a team thing," Young said. "It's a team thing. It doesn't matter how we fall behind. There are nights where we haven't scored early. We've done a good job battling late, but we need to do a better job scoring early. We need to fix it as a team." This was not a good day to fall behind early. Haren came into the game with the lowest ERA in the American League, and it only got lower. A single by Kenny Lofton and a double by Young in the third inning accounted for the Rangers' only run. Haren pretty much dominated the rest of the afternoon. Only twice did the Rangers have at least two runners on base in an inning, and they were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. "He did what all good pitchers do, he bent but he didn't break," manager Ron Washington said. "For a couple moments, I thought we had a chance to break through, but anytime we did, he stopped it with a strikeout or a double play. When he gets a lead, he knows how to run to the finish line. He leads the league in ERA, and he pitched like it today." Koronka couldn't match it, and Rangers pitchers have a 4.97 ERA for the month of May. It's been a long month for the Rangers and it's one loss away from being the worst May they've ever seen.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.