05/05/10 1:42 AM ET
Rangers' rally from early deficit falls just short
Guerrero has five RBIs; Feldman perseveres through seven
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
His arm was wrapped in ice as he stared at the video, trying to figure out what went wrong in a 7-6 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. Feldman put the Rangers behind, 5-0, after two innings, and they couldn't quite catch up.
"I was looking to see if there was anything I was doing that was different," Feldman said. "I felt good. It was just a matter of execution."
Or lack of it in a Jeykll and Hyde performance. Feldman retired the last 12 batters he faced but still gave up seven runs in seven innings to drop his record to 1-3 with a 5.45 ERA after six starts. This is not the way he expected to start the season after winning 17 games in 2009 and being selected the Rangers' Opening Day pitcher over Rich Harden in Spring Training.
"It's been inconsistent, that's the biggest thing," Feldman said. "Putting together a good stretch ... I just need to go out and pitch better. It's pretty disappointing being 1-3 after the first month. There are some things I can do to get better. I just need to keep working hard and get things straightened out."
Feldman outlasted half the Athletics pitching staff. He just couldn't out-pitch them. By the time Chris Ray relieved him in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Athletics had run six pitchers to the mound, trying to hold off the Rangers' comeback.
"He gave our bullpen a chance to get a break," manager Ron Washington said. "He hung in there and worked hard to get us to the seventh. As long as he can learn from what's going on, I think he's going to get better."
Feldman is the first Rangers pitcher to throw at least seven innings in a game, and allow at least seven runs, since Rob Bell on July 27, 2001, against Tampa Bay.
"I felt fine, but my command was awful," Feldman said. "Getting behind in hitters' counts is the thing that's hurting me the most. For us to put up runs like that and see it go to waste was pretty disappointing."
Vladimir Guerrero drove in five runs for the Rangers with a grand slam in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. This was the sixth grand slam of his career and his 410th career home run, moving him past Jason Giambi for 43rd all-time. But the Rangers, despite knocking out Athletics starter Vin Mazzaro in the fourth inning, still had their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Guerrero's performance was matched by Oakland outfielder Ryan Sweeney. He also drove in five runs. That was a career high, and his two-run home run in the first gave the Athletics a 2-0 lead. He also had a two-run single in the second inning that made it 5-0, and the Athletics needed five relievers to keep from letting that lead disappear completely.
"To go against Feldman -- he's a good pitcher, had 17 wins last year," Sweeney said. "To go out there and do what we did tonight ... to go out there and have a committee of a lot of guys having a lot of hits was real good."
Guerrero's grand slam made it 5-4, but the Athletics scored two more off Feldman with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. Cliff Pennington led off with a walk and scored on Daric Barton's triple. Sweeney's single scored Barton. Feldman then gave up a single to Kevin Kouzmanoff and that, all of a sudden, was it.
Feldman did not allow another baserunner the rest of the night.
"I just started making pitches in the late innings," Feldman said. "But in the beginning, I was erratic with my command. I just started going right after their batters. I wasn't trying to re-invent myself, I just made better pitches.
"Hopefully, I can build on those last three innings, but it's still disappointing to waste a good night offensively."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.