ANAHEIM -- For the fifth time in eight games, the Rangers did not allow an earned run on Thursday afternoon. For the seventh time in their last eight games, the Rangers held their opponent to one run or less.Once again, their starting pitcher was brilliant. Only this time -- and at the end of a tremendous pitching duel -- the Rangers did not win. One hit batter and one dropped fly ball kept that from happening. Instead, the one unearned run Rangers starter C.J. Wilson gave up cost him in a 1-0 loss to Jered Weaver and the Angels on Thursday afternoon. The Rangers ended up losing two of three to the Angels and now lead the American League West by three games. "You'd almost rather get blown out than lose that way, but we'll shake it off," Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said. Rangers center fielder Endy Chavez dropped the fly ball that brought home the only run. But Wilson blamed himself for putting the runner on base to begin with. He was up 0-2 in the count to Howard Kendrick with one out in the second inning and hit him in the foot with a slider. "I hit a guy with an 0-2 slider," Wilson said. "I'm not happy with that. That was the biggest problem. Even if he makes the error, if I don't hit a guy, there's nobody on base and we get out of that inning. That was the turning point of the game." Wilson struck out Mark Trumbo with a slider, but it also got away from catcher Mike Napoli. Trumbo was out, but Kendrick advanced to second on what was scored a wild pitch. Mike Trout followed with a fly ball to right-center. Chavez had to cover some ground but got to the ball, only to have it bounce out of his glove for an error. Kendrick scored with the only run.
"I just missed the ball," Chavez said, refusing the sun as an excuse. "Nothing ... I just missed it. No excuses.""A physical mistake," manager Ron Washington said. "It happens." And that was it for scoring on the afternoon. This was the first time the Rangers have lost a game without allowing an earned run since Aug. 7, 1989, in a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays and it was the first time they lost a 1-0 game on an unearned run since Angels pitcher Mike Witt threw a perfect game against them on Sept. 30, 1984. This was also the first time a Rangers pitcher threw a complete game and lost without allowing an earned run since Charlie Hough lost a no-hitter to the Angels here in the ninth inning in a 2-1 loss on June 16, 1986. This was Wilson's first lost since May 20. He is 6-1 with a 2.52 ERA in his last 11 starts.
"C.J.'s having a great year, he's turned himself into a great pitcher," Weaver said. "You knew it was going to be kind of a pitchers' duel, and that's what it turned out to be."Wilson went eight innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out eight. He is 10-4 with a 2.94 ERA after being credited with the Rangers' ninth complete game of the season. Wilson has five complete games as a starter for the Rangers in the past two years and has lost three of them. "You couldn't ask for anything more from C.J." Washington said. "That was two great pitchers battling. They just got a run on a mistake. C.J. certainly pitched well enough to win the ballgame. We just couldn't put any runs on the board." Weaver allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out six over seven-plus innings. He is 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA in his last eight starts against the Rangers going back to be the beginning of July last season. Weaver is also 25-10 with a 2.43 ERA in 44 career starts during the day. Going back to World War II, that's the lowest day-game ERA for any Major League pitcher with at least 277 innings pitched. "We feel like we should be able to get to anybody," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "He threw the ball well and we couldn't put any runs on the board. That was the game." The Rangers had two on with one out in the first, but Elvis Andrus was thrown out trying to steal third base, and the rally died when Adrian Beltre struck out. Andrus was acting on his own, and Washington approved. "That's the way we play," Washington said. "They made a play. We're not going to stop playing our game." The Rangers didn't get another runner in scoring position until Beltre doubled with two outs in the sixth. Michael Young walked and Nelson Cruz beat out an infield hit to load the bases. That brought up Mitch Moreland, and Weaver was able to get ahead 1-2 in the count. He came with two fastballs that Moreland fouled off and then missed with a slider in the dirt. Finally he threw one more fastball upstairs and Moreland missed it, ending the inning. Weaver danced off the mound pumping his fist. "Luckily, he chased that high fastball," Weaver said. "I was definitely excited." The Rangers also got a two-out single from Napoli in the ninth against closer Jordan Walden, and pinch-runner Craig Gentry stole second. But Chavez grounded out to end the game.
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.