This isn't the way the Texas Rangers envisioned starting their biggest series of the season. The Oakland Athletics came to town, and immediately showed they have no intentions of giving away the American League West crown.
The A's were leading 9-2, and a good chunk of Rangers fans headed towards the exits after seven innings. But the Rangers rallied for the third consecutive game, and at least made it interesting late with a two-out, six-run rally in the eighth.
The bid came up short, though, and a 9-8 defeat is not much of a consolation. The A's extended their lead to 4 1/2 games in the West, and the Rangers saw their lead for the top wild card spot dwindle to one game over the Rays.
All hope is not lost within the Rangers clubhouse.
"All you can do is fight to the end and try to find a win," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We're really close to just go out there and click off and start a winning streak."
Said A.J. Pierzynski: "It was a loss. Another one. We had a chacne again and come up short."
Here are a few postgame notes from the game:
* The Rangers' eighth-inning rally came to a controversial end when Alex Rios was thrown out at third base for the final out. Replays showed that Rios beat the tag and he argued with third base umpire Andy Fletcher but to no avail and was eventually tossed.
"Actually, I was correct," Rios said. "I believe I was safe on that call."
Asked about having a rally end in that manner, Rios said: "At that particular part of the game there is a lot of emotions. We’re making a come back and we’re fired up and to have that rallied killed like that is disappointing."
* Matt Garza was ejected from the game in the ninth inning by first base umpire Joe West. Garza voiced his displeasure from the bench.
* Derek Holland had his worst start of the season at the worst possible time. He lasted only three-plus innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
"This was just horrendous," Holland said. "It's embarrassing. If those guys put up the runs they did today, we should've won."
Holland is now winless in a career-long seven straight starts, and hasn't pitched six innings in his last three.
"I'm missing too much on the plate," Holland said. "I'm up in the zone. I just haven't done my job. I need to do a way better job than that. That was unacceptable."
* The Rangers scored two runs in the first inning, their 11th time this season to score multiple runs in the first inning. It's the first time, however, that the Rangers have lost while scoring multiple runs in the opening inning.
-- Drew Davison