Saturday, October 6, 2012 , Updated 10:20 a.m., October 6, 2012
Texas Rangers limp into offseason with yet another uninspired effort
The Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 5-1 in the Wild Card Playoff.
The Texas Rangers failed to show up for an important game once again Friday night, losing 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The loss, in the new winner-take-all one game wild card format, assured that the Rangers would have their longest offseason in three years. Baltimore will go on to play the New York Yankees in the next round.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish was solid, allowing three runs, two of them earned, on five hits over six-plus innings. Darvish, who struck out seven while walking none, was replaced by Derek Holland, who continued his streak of poor pitching by allowing one of Darvish' runs to score to make it 3-1. Joe Nathan provided the Orioles with the other two runs in the top of the ninth to make sure the game was well out of reach for Texas' listless hitters.
Orioles starter Joe Saunders, who had previously lost all six decisions in Arlington, dominated Texas' lineup. Saunders gave up just one run over five-plus innings, walking one and striking out four. The Baltimore bullpen was even better, with three relievers combining to pitch three and a third innings of shutout relief.
Baltimore opened the scoring in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Nate McLouth reached base on a lazy fielding error by Texas' veteran first baseman Michael Young. McLouth then stole second and scored on J.J. Hardy's RBI single to make it 1-0 Orioles.
Texas tied it in the bottom frame when Ian Kinsler led off with a walk, then advanced to third on Elvis Andrus' single. Struggling slugger Josh Hamilton then grounded into a double play, scoring Kinsler but clearing the bases. The Rangers never scored again, while Hamilton went 0-for-3 the rest of the game with two demoralizing three-pitch strikeouts. It was likely the last game Hamilton played in a Rangers uniform.
The two teams were locked in a 1-1 pitching duel until the top of the sixth, when Hardy led off with a single, advanced to third on former Ranger Chris Davis' single, and scored on Adam Jones' sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 Baltimore.
McLouth added an RBI single in the seventh, and the Orioles scored two more runs in the top of the ninth to make it 5-1.
Texas had a chance to mount a rally in the bottom of the ninth, when Nelson Cruz hit a one-out single and Mike Napoli drew a two-out walk. Rookie Jurickson Profar then hit a single to load the bases with two outs, but David Murphy ended the season with a fly out to left.