ARLINGTON, Texas — After taking three of four games from the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays, the Texas Rangers are in danger of being swept by the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rangers fell to 6-9 on the season with a 6-1 loss to Baltimore, who improves to 7-8.
The Texas lineup struggled again to produce any kind of threats on offense. While David Dahl drew first blood for the Rangers with an RBI single in the fourth inning, it was all they could muster. Texas only produced seven hits on the night — all of which were singles.
Of the nine losses on the season, six have come at Globe Life Field where the Rangers have the largest home field advantage in terms of attendance.
"We obviously gotta produce a little bit more here," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "We've gotta have better at-bats and hit better in this ballpark. We won here, but we didn't hit here last year. It's one of those things we've gotta figure out."
One thing the opposition is still trying to figure out is Dane Dunning, who was stellar once again, keeping the Rangers in front with six scoreless innings.
Dunning only allowed five hits, no walks, and struck out five Baltimore hitters. What's more, Dunning continued a remarkable scoreless innings streak on Saturday, stretching it to 14 innings. That mark is tied for the third-longest in Major League Baseball this season.
"He's been really good," Woodward said. "They way he competes, he's not afraid to attack the strike zone. He's got a really good sinker, so he gets a lot of quick outs."
Dunning worked with tremendous efficiency, needing only 75 pitches for six innings. The only reason the Rangers are limiting him is to protect him coming off Tommy John surgery in March 2019 with hardly any innings logged in the past two seasons.
His tenure with the Rangers is off to a marvelous start. He's thrown 15 innings in three starts, with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP.
However, the bullpen failed to keep Dunning's 1-0 lead, with Taylor Hearn giving up the game-tying run in the seventh inning. It went from bad to worse with Joely Rodríguez getting his season off on the wrong foot. He led off the eighth inning giving up back-to-back singles, then allowed an RBI double by Trey Mancini that gave Baltimore a lead they'd never surrender.
"It's a pretty hard landing," Woodward said of Rodríguez. "I'm not worried about it. It's obviously one time out. He hadn't pitched yet. The thing is they elevated his sinker. I don't remember three balls in a row being hit in the air off of him at any point that I've watch him pitch. But Joely will be fine."
Joey Gallo helped limit the damage with a spectacular catch in right field off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle that turned extra bases into a sacrifice fly. However, Rule 5 pick Brett de Geus couldn't escape two outs in the ninth before giving up an RBI single to DJ Stewart. Maikel Franco followed Stewart with a two-run home run off de Geus that put the game out of reach.
The Rangers will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Texas will hand the ball to Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.05 ERA), and he'll square off with Baltimore southpaw John Means (1-0, 2.16 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. CT.