ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington had a simple answer for what happened to his team over the past three days against the Red Sox."The thing was they whipped our tails for three days," Washington said. "We couldn't stop them and we couldn't get anything going offensively." There was no argument in the home clubhouse after a 6-0 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday night, and infielder Michael Young had a simple solution for what the Rangers need to do in a three-game series against the Angels that starts on Friday. "Play better," Young said. The Rangers haven't played well lately, having lost three straight and six of their last eight games. In that stretch, their lead in the American League West has gone from seven to two games. They are just one game ahead of the Halos in the loss column. "New opportunity tomorrow," Young said. "It doesn't matter what's happened in the past, we'll come tomorrow and play our style of baseball. We've had stretches before and have always been able to answer the bell." This stretch has been distinguished lately by the struggles of the Rangers' starting pitchers, and Alexi Ogando was the latest to get knocked around. He gave up four home runs in the first four innings, putting the Rangers down 6-0. Rangers starters have allowed 25 runs over 25 innings in their last five games, and that includes 6 2/3 scoreless innings by C.J. Wilson in their only win in that stretch on Monday. In those five games, the Rangers have been outscored 24-5 in the first four innings. Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs, giving him five in the last three games after none in his previous 84 at-bats. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each hit one. All four home runs came on fastballs. The two home runs by Gonzalez and one by Saltalamacchia came on the first pitch. "They were ready for my fastball," Ogando said. "It looked like that. I was trying to get ahead with fastballs." Gonzalez acknowledged that was his approach to facing Ogando. He went up there looking for a fastball. "If I was looking offspeed, I wouldn't have hit them," Gonzalez said. "I was just looking fastball." Ogando lasted just four innings and is now 12-6 with a 3.57 ERA in 25 starts, including 2-3 with a 6.05 ERA in his last seven outings. The four home runs were a career high. He had allowed just four home runs combined in his last 12 starts. "They played better than us," Washington said. "They're a very good team. We didn't match them on the mound, and if you don't do that, you don't have a chance. They swing the bats well. You've got to pitch to stay in the game with them." The Rangers had won 17 of their last 23, including nine of 11 at home, against the Red Sox before getting hammered the last three nights. "I'm glad we beat them," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We have a lot of respect for them. They really beat us up a little bit, especially down here. But we played good tonight, and that's what we wanted to do." Offensively, the Rangers were shut out for the second time in five games and seventh time this season. It was only the second time at home, but they managed just three singles in 6 1/3 scoreless innings off Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller. He walked two and struck out six on 83 pitches. It didn't help that the Rangers were trailing for the third straight game before they came to bat in the first. This time it was only 1-0 after Gonzalez's first home run. But it got steadily worse. Ortiz made it 2-0 with his home run in the second, Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the third and Saltalamacchia's two-run shot made it 6-0 in the fourth. That was it on the night for the scoring. "It's kind of frustrating. Obviously you don't want to lose any series, but the good thing about this thing is there's always tomorrow," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "They basically just played better. They hit and pitched well. We hit some balls hard right at them. They just played well. They played well the last three days, so you've got to give them credit. It's a good ballclub." Another good club comes to Arlington on Friday night. "There are no concerns at all," Washington said. "We'll continue to grind it out. You never know what will happen, but we'll show up and play our best 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.