It was the same story on a different day for the Rangers offense on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.
Since their seven-run comeback on Friday night, the Rangers have gone scoreless for 21 innings. The struggling offense tallied just two hits against the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez, and was shut out for the second consecutive game.
The Rangers lost 6-0, with Cleveland sweeping the three-game series.
Despite their woes at the plate, the Rangers found themselves in a close game entering the sixth inning after Robbie Ross relieved Alexi Ogando in the fifth, keeping the score at 1-0.
A Yan Gomes pop-up into foul territory appeared to be the third out of the sixth inning with runners on first and third. But Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus collided on the play, and the ball popped out of Beltre’s glove as the 5-foot-11-inch, 220-pound third baseman toppled over Andrus.
And then the wheels came off.
Gomes took advantage of a second life at the plate, as he singled to center to bring in the second run of the game for Cleveland. Michael Bourn then sent a 1-2 pitch bounding off of the 19-foot-high wall in the left-center gap at Progressive Field.
Mike Aviles one-upped Bourn with a shot that cleared that 19-foot-high fence in the eighth for a two-run home run that increased Cleveland's lead to six.
The Indians were the beneficiaries of some impressive defense that helped preserve the shutout. Nick Swisher made an impressive stop on a short hop off the bat of Leonys Martin for the third out in the fifth, stranding runners at second and third.
Ryan Raburn robbed Mitch Moreland of extra bases for the first out in the eighth, as he slammed into the wall to make the catch in the right-center gap.
Jimenez threw eight innings of shutout baseball, recording six strikeouts. Vinnie Pestano added a scoreless ninth to close the game.
During a stretch of games with few positive headlines for the offense, Andrus’s double in the first inning gave him a 37-game hit streak against the Indians, which is the third-longest streak by a player against a single team since 1900.
But the Rangers were swept by the Indians for the first time since 1980. And for a team falling further and further away from a division lead, the latter may be the more pressing bit of history.
What the Rangers need is runs, and they are coming at a premium for the slumping bats of Texas. Every offense slumps, but this squad needs to capitalize on the opportunities it gets.
Scoring opportunities were squandered in the first and fifth innings Sunday afternoon. Despite only having two hits for the game, the Rangers had their chances to get runners across home plate.
A double play in the first inning off the bat of Adrian Beltre erased a chance with runners on first and second and no outs. With runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, a fly ball in the infield and a ground out to first frittered away the best scoring chance in the ballgame.
Failure to execute with runners in scoring position is something an offense can’t do in the midst of a slump. The chances are few and far between of late, and the Rangers can’t afford many more shutouts.
The club returns home Monday to begin a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Matt Garza will make his second start as a in a Texas uniform on Monday. Texas hasn’t won since Garza’s first start last Wednesday.