Millwood let down by offense, defense
Ace fans 10 but Rangers get no-hit for six innings
SAN FRANCISCO -- This time the Rangers managed just three hits. They were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and they were no-hit for six innings by Barry Zito.
But manager Ron Washington wasn't interested in going into great detail about the latest Rangers offensive woes after a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park.
He was more interested in talking about his defense.
"We weren't doing much offensively but our defense beat us today," Washington said after the Rangers were swept by the Giants in the three-game series. "Our defense let us down today."
Washington was referring to a couple of plays by rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus in the third inning when the Giants scored two runs and one by right fielder Nelson Cruz that led to the go-ahead run in the seventh. Those cost pitcher Kevin Millwood and he is now 7-5 with a 2.62 ERA.
"Millwood deserved a better fate," Washington said. "We've been taking pride in playing defense but today it beat us."
Millwood wasn't ready to put it all on the defense or an offense that scored just seven runs in three games against the Giants.
"I didn't make enough pitches to win the game," Millwood said. "I was able to keep it close, but in the end I didn't do enough to win it."
Andruw Jones delivered the Rangers' only runs with a two-run home run in the seventh that broke up Zito's bid for a no-hitter. But the Rangers' only two other hits were singles by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Andrus. Zito walked the first two hitters he faced on the afternoon but got out of that jam by getting Michael Young on a liner to center, striking out Jones and retiring Cruz on a grounder to third.
Those were the Rangers' only three at-bats with runners in scoring position. They are now hitting .218 for the month of June with a .277 on-base percentage and a .363 slugging percentage. They are also averaging 3.3 runs per game in losing 11 of 18 games this month.
"It's just a funk," Ian Kinsler said. "There's not much else you can say. We're facing adversity right now. Every team goes through adversity at some point during the season and you have to fight through it. Zito threw well. You want to give him credit for throwing the ball the way he did, but we feel we're better than that."
But, according to Washington, 3.3 runs would have been more than enough to win Sunday afternoon without the defensive lapses.
"We should have won that game, 2-0," Washington said.
The Giants started the third inning with a triple by Aaron Rowand. Andrus then made a terrific diving catch to his left on Edgar Renteria's line drive for the first out. It was the next play that had Washington mystified.
Randy Winn hit a little blooper past Millwood toward Andrus, who came in on the ball and then stopped. It fell in front of him, holding Rowand at third but allowing Winn to reach safely at first with an infield hit.
"That was a weird base hit," Andrus said. "At first I intended to make a diving catch. I started running in and then it stopped in the wind and I didn't have a chance."
Millwood walked Pablo Sandoval to load the bases and set up the next crucial defensive play. Travis Ishikawa smacked a sharp grounder down the first-base line that Chris Davis grabbed deep behind the bag. He made a strong throw to second to get the force but Andrus was wild with his throw to first base and the ball skipped past Millwood covering the bag. Two runs scored.
"I should have eaten that ball," Andrus said. "I didn't have a chance and it was a horrible throw. I should have just taken the ball and saved one run."
That gave the Giants a 2-0 lead. The Rangers tied it in the seventh on the two-run home run by Jones, which snapped their streak of 14 straight home runs with nobody on base. But the Giants regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh.
With one out, Rowand hit a pop fly into shallow right field. Cruz came in hesitantly and tried to make a sliding catch. Instead the ball dropped for what was ultimately ruled a hit, although Washington made it clear that the ball should have been caught.
"He just didn't get to it," Washington fumed. "Millwood ended up having to throw extra pitches."
In doing so, Renteria and Winn followed with a pair of singles that gave the Giants the lead. Zito was done after seven innings but Bob Howry and Brian Wilson closed it out for the Giants, who have never lost in nine games vs. the Rangers at AT&T Park.
"We just got outplayed," Millwood said. "They pitched better than we did, they got big base hits when they needed to. It just seems we're in a little bit of a funk right now."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.