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08/09/08 11:29 PM ET
Padilla struggles, Rangers lose to O's
With injuries, slumps, offense shut down for third straight game
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers' offense is in a slump, so is Vicente Padilla, and the two storm fronts crashed together at Camden Yards on Saturday night. When it was over, the Rangers had dropped their fourth straight game with a 9-0 loss to the Orioles, falling 7 1/2 games back in the American League Wild Card race. Daniel Cabrera, who was 1-6 with a 6.33 ERA in his first eight career starts against Texas, combined with three relievers to hold the Rangers to just five hits. "It was a tough night all around," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stop them offensively and we couldn't get anything going offensively. We're in a little funk right now; we just need to keep fighting and see if we can come out of it. The plan is to come out tomorrow and be the best we can be. We were scoring runs in bunches, but now it's not happening. But we're not panicking." The shutout was the Rangers' second in three games after they had not been whitewashed all season. But they have now scored just two runs in their past 34 innings, going back to when David Murphy crashed into Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Tuesday and was lost for two to four weeks with a right knee sprain. Texas also has just 24 hits during that stretch, with their only runs coming on solo home runs by Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. The Rangers have one hit in their past 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-5 on Saturday. "It stinks," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "It's terrible. There are no excuses. We're not tired. We looked good in batting practice, and we had our ace on the mound. We just got our tails kicked." They also lost Young after two at-bats on Saturday, when he aggravated his fractured ring finger on his right hand by hitting a ball off the end of the bat. Young has been dealing with the problem for almost two weeks and plans to start in Sunday's finale. "I'll be in there tomorrow," Young said. "When I went out there in the bottom of the inning, I had trouble throwing the ball across the infield. The frustrating part was I knew in an hour I'd be fine, but I knew at that point I couldn't be out there." So in the fifth inning, the injury-racked Rangers had an infield, from left to right, of Travis Metcalf, Ramon Vazquez, Ian Kinsler and Chris Davis. In the outfield, they had Frank Catalanotto, Byrd and Jason Ellison. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was catching. "It's rough," Kinsler said. "We're not playing good. I think everybody knows what's going on, but we just have to battle through this to stay in this thing." The Rangers had their chance early, as singles by Kinsler and Young, plus a walk to designated hitter Josh Hamilton, loaded the bases with one out in the first. Cabrera was struggling, but he was able to get Byrd to weakly pop to second base. Saltalamacchia struck out to end the inning. "I completely messed up the flow of the game," Byrd said. "If I get a hit or drive in a run there, the game completely changes. That killed our inning." The Orioles fared better in the same situation against Padilla in the bottom of the first. They, too, loaded the bases with one out, but they were able to get a run when Kevin Millar singled. Padilla struck out Luke Scott and Ramon Hernandez to escape further damage, but the respite was only temporary. Nick Markakis hit a three-run home run off Padilla in the second and Melvin Mora drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the fourth. Padilla (12-6) didn't come out for the fifth and has a 4.85 ERA, making Scott Feldman's 4.82 ERA the lowest among the five Rangers pitchers with at least 10 starts this year. "He had a bad night," Washington said of Padilla. "He got the ball up and couldn't hit his spots. They made him throw a ton of pitches. He just had an off night." Padilla allowed six runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter, unable to give the Rangers at least five innings for only the third time in 23 starts. "The bottom line is getting the 'W,'and he's been getting them for us," Washington said. "There's no concern. His arm is solid. They just hit everything we threw in the strike zone."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.