ARLINGTON -- The temperature stood at 99 degrees when Nelson Cruz lined out to left field, bringing an end to the Rangers' 8-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday afternoon.
Inside the Texas clubhouse, the club's frustration level was much higher, and manager Ron Washington made little effort to mask his dissatisfaction at what he saw before being ejected by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher in the top of the sixth inning.
"There were some people out there who had a bad day," Washington said. "It happens. They know who they are. Anything that could have gone against us, as far as calls go ... they did."
Shortstop Elvis Andrus was also thrown out even though he didn't even play because of a sprained left wrist. He was tossed for yelling from the bench while pitching coach Mike Maddux was making a mound visit in the sixth inning.
Those who witnessed it said the Rangers were yelling at Fletcher, but it was not their injured shortstop. Designated hitter Michael Young was identified as the leading suspect.
That call was definitely missed, but that was not the one that had the Rangers fuming after they lost for the third time in four games. Prior to that they had won four of five, though they remain in first place in the American League West.
"We'll have four or five good games, and then when it seems like we're making a little traction, we'll fall back into a little rut," outfielder David Murphy said. "We need to figure out something where we can stay consistent for a few weeks, or even a month."
The Rangers were hoping that a stretch of 16 out of 19 at home would help in that regard. But they are 3-3 so far and open a three-game series against the Astros on Tuesday in Houston.
Derek Holland took the loss on Sunday, allowing seven runs on 12 hits through six innings. Holland did not walk a batter, but also didn't strike anybody out either.
"The main thing is I threw a lot of strikes and didn't have many walks," Holland said. "I just did a poor job of keeping down the damage. Things just didn't go my way, but I've got to battle through it."
The top of the second was the crushing inning, and that included one of the two big calls the Rangers felt went against them. A key defensive lapse was just as critical in a four-run Mets rally that erased the Rangers' 2-1 lead.
Singles by Ronny Paulino and Daniel Murphy opened the inning, putting runners on first and third. That brought up Angel Pagan, and he hit a high chopper to third baseman Adrian Beltre. Paulino broke for home, but Beltre's throw was off line and deflected off catcher Taylor Teagarden's glove.
"If we execute there, who knows what happens," Washington said.
Paulino scored, Pagan was safe at first, and Murphy went all the way to third. Ruben Tejada popped out, but Jose Reyes singled to left to score Murphy, with Pagan stopping at second. Justin Turner followed with a long fly that Cruz caught in deep right. Pagan went to third, and Cruz threw in that direction. When Reyes broke for second, shortstop Andres Blanco cut the ball off and flipped the ball to second baseman Ian Kinsler.
But Reyes was ruled safe over the Rangers' protests. Instead of the inning being over, Holland wasn't done, and Carlos Beltran's single to center gave the Mets a 5-2 lead.
"I'm not going to say anything about the umpires," Holland said. "I still have to go out and make my pitches."
The Rangers' best chance to do something about the Mets lead was the fifth. Endy Chavez led off with a double against Mets starter Dillon Gee, and scored on a single by Young. Beltre then reached on an error, putting runners at first and second.
Cruz followed with a slow grounder to the left side. Reyes, going to his right from shortstop, made a backhanded stop but didn't have a play at second or first. So he threw to Turner, the Mets' third baseman who was straddling the bag. Turner tried to step on the bag and tag Young out. Either way would have been an out. The Rangers thought Turner did neither, but third-base umpire Mike DiMuro called Young out.
Young didn't argue, but he later saw a replay and was left with one indelible impression.
"He said it was on the force ... obviously he missed the call," Young said. "I couldn't tell if he was on the bag, I just knew he didn't make the tag. It would have been nice to have the bases loaded with nobody out. I'm not going to pin anything on an umpire's call, but it would have been nice to have seen how that inning unfolded."
Instead, the inning fizzled from there. Mitch Moreland hit a bullet down the first-base line, and Murphy made a diving stop, getting a force at second base. David Murphy flied out to end the inning and the Rangers ended up 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
"I know these guys are coming out here and leaving everything they have on the field," Washington said. "We just haven't put anything together for an extended period of time."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.