CHICAGO -- One night after using a trio of home runs to defeat the White Sox, the Rangers again relied on the long ball for their offensive output on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough this time as the Rangers couldn't muster any offense besides a pair of Ian Kinsler home runs, as they lost for just the second time in their last nine games in a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Kinsler wasted no time staking starter Alexi Ogando to an early lead by taking John Danks deep on just the second pitch of the game and later tied the contest at 2 with another solo shot in the third. From that point on, though, Danks and Ogando turned the contest into a pitchers' duel, with neither hurler conceding another run before handing the game off to the bullpens in the eighth.
While the White Sox Jesse Crain worked his way into and out of a jam in the top half of the inning, Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wasn't as fortunate in the bottom half. Uehera left a one-out, full-count fastball out over the middle of the plate, and Alex Rios lined it into left field for a double, allowing pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge to score the go-ahead run from first.
"It's a situation where obviously you don't want to throw a ball," Uehera said through translator Uchikubo Bang. "I would have liked to throw a splitter, that was a deciding factor. But you can't take it back."
"That's what I'm supposed to do," said Rios, who entered the game in the top of the first inning when right fielder Carlos Quentin injured his left shoulder making a diving catch. "I'm supposed to help the team win games. Fortunately, it happened and we are glad we won the game."
Ogando conceded both his runs and five of his six hits over the first two innings before settling down and keeping the White Sox offense in check for his final five innings of work. The right-hander was forced to settle for the no-decision, however, as the Rangers were unable to execute in several situations where they could have snapped the 2-2 tie, including the top of the eighth inning.
"He was good," manager Ron Washington said of Ogando, who came into the game with a 10.00 ERA over his previous two starts. "In the first two innings, they put some hits together and scored their runs, but Kinsler came back and got us in the game. From that point on, they just threw up zeros, both [Ogando] and Danks."
With Danks out of the game in the eighth, though, the Rangers quickly put together a rally against Crain. Texas put two on with two outs, but Crain escaped the jam by getting Nelson Cruz to line out to right field, setting up the White Sox rally in the bottom of the inning. With the scoreless eighth inning, Crain picked up the victory and preserved his perfect lifetime ERA against the Rangers over 25 1/3 innings of work.
The Rangers put another runner in scoring position in the ninth inning against closer Sergio Santos after pinch-runner Endy Chavez stole second with two outs, but pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba struck out looking to end the ballgame.
"We put ourselves in a position with two outs to get a base hit to make a difference," Washington said. "We didn't get it and they did get it."
Cruz was involved in another potentially game-changing play back in the fourth inning when he was thrown out attempting to steal third base for the second out of the inning. Aside from Kinsler's two home runs, the Rangers never had a runner reach third base and have scored eight of their nine runs in the series on home runs.
"Nothing was wrong with that," Washington said of Cruz's steal attempt. "An opportunity presented itself, and he just didn't get it done. That's the way we play though. I have no problem with it. They got their runs the way they got them and we get ours the way we get them. From that point, they just pitched."
Despite the loss Saturday night, the Rangers still have a chance to wrap up their 10-game road trip on Sunday with their fifth straight series victory. Texas is 7-2 on the trip so far, with the two losses both coming in one-run games with the decisive run being scored in the eighth or ninth inning.
"It was just one of those games where the two pitchers that were out there to start the game weren't giving up much," Washington said. "They both went their seven innings and then it was up to the bullpens. We certainly didn't give them the ballgame, they won it."
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.