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06/08/07 1:12 AM ET

Pitching woes continue in loss to Tigers

Starter Loe lasts just 2 2/3 innings as Rangers fall

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers aren't thinking about taking starter Kameron Loe out of the rotation. Loe knows that faith won't last forever.

"I know I have to produce and put up good starts if I'm going to stay here," Loe said. "The more bad starts I have, the closer I am to getting out of here."

Loe walked off the mound in the third inning Thursday night after just 2 2/3 innings. He gave up nine hits and nine runs, as the Detroit Tigers romped the Rangers, 11-4, Thursday night in front of 22,990 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Loe further illustrated the inability of the Rangers starting rotation to go deep into ballgames. Kevin Millwood went just 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday. Spot starter John Rheinecker went three-plus innings Tuesday. It was the 18th time this season a Ranger starting pitcher pitched less than four innings.

"We're all talking to each other, trying to pick each other up, and it's going to pay off," Loe said. "I know I keep saying that, but it's going to pay off. We're too good and care too much for this to keep happening."

Loe is now 0-5 with a 7.40 ERA in his last nine starts. He last won on April 21 against Oakland. When questioned whether Loe would be a likely candidate to move from the rotation to the bullpen, Washington continued to defend his starting pitcher, who fell to 1-6 on the season.

"He's in the rotation because he won the spot," he said. "We haven't thought about [moving Loe to the bullpen]. If that point comes, we'll have a group discussion [to see] if we have to make an adjustment."

Loe went 5 1/3 innings giving up five runs in his previous start on June 2 at Seattle.

The Rangers starting rotation ERA continues to climb up, but Washington still remains positive about his starters.

"I'm not losing confidence," Washington said. "We got to start making pitches and I think the confidence will grow."

Loe did face the hot hitting Tigers led by designated hitter Gary Sheffield. Sheffield hit his third home run of the series to right center to lead off a six-run third inning. Five runs and eight batters later, Sheffield drew a walk, this time from reliever Scott Feldman, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day.

"I got the ball up, and lefties seem to be getting too comfortable against me," Loe said. "I don't go inside much, and when I do, the ball leaks back over the plate. I've got to start making them uncomfortable."

Feldman pitched 3 1/3 innings allowing five hits and two runs. Willie Eyre and Eric Gagne pitched the final three innings for Texas.

Outside of starting pitching struggles, the Rangers defense remained shaky. Jerry Hairston Jr., who started at third base, committed a throwing error in the first. In the third inning with runners on second and third, second baseman Ian Kinsler made an ill-advised throw to shortstop Michael Young creating a rundown situation with the runner on second. The runner on third, Magglio Ordonez, scored.

"I would've thrown to first and have Tex throw to the plate," Washington said. "It was a tough play and you have to give credit to the runner."

Young said a lot of things went wrong other than that play.

The Tigers combined for 17 hits, the most against the Rangers this season, to take the series. It was the 13th series the Rangers have lost this season as they fell to 12-16 at home.

"It's never easy to go out there and struggle when you're trying to win games," Young said. "We're going to support [the starting staff]. Early in the season, [the hitters] got off to a slow start and they stayed behind us. We're going to stay behind them."

The Rangers scored three runs against Tiger starter Mike Maroth, and Mark Teixeira hit his 12th home run of the season in the ninth, but it simply wasn't enough to overcome the early deficit.

"We have two choices," Young said. "And, we're going to come in tomorrow and fight and try to turn it around."

Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.