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Two-time defending AL champ Texas done without win

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 12:47 am •  Published: October 6, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers waited a year for another chance to get back to the World Series.

This time, the two-time defending American League champs didn't even win a postseason game.

Instead of finally getting a chance to celebrate something this year — after a late-season slide cost them their AL West crown on the final day of the regular season — slugger Josh Hamilton was getting booed in what might have been his last home game in a Rangers uniform.

Even with Yu Darvish on the mound, Texas lost 5-1 in Friday night's win-or-go-home AL wild-card game against Baltimore and Joe Saunders, who had never before won at Rangers Ballpark.

"To be honest with you, I never thought anything like this would happen," manager Ron Washington said. "I don't get pessimistic, I always stay optimistic, and when things like this happen, I am shocked. And right now, I'm shocked."

And getting ready for the Rangers' longest offseason in three years after being in first place for a majors-high 178 games this season.

After being swept in three games at Oakland, and losing nine of their last 13 games in the regular season, the Rangers couldn't avoid the majors' new winner-take-all postseason opener.

"If we play the way we're supposed to play, we're going to beat people," Hamilton said. "We didn't play how we're capable of playing. That's where the shock comes in."

Hamilton was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, both on three pitches. He swung at the first pitch his other at-bats — grounding into a double play in the first that did send home Texas' only run and a comebacker to start the sixth. He struck out with a runner at second base to end the eighth.

While Hamilton dejectedly walked toward the outfield after his last at-bat, second baseman Ian Kinsler stopped and put his arm around him.

The former AL MVP and batting champion is eligible for free agency, and the Rangers might not be willing to pay the big money likely necessary to keep him.

"I hadn't thought about it too much. I'm going to go home, spend some time with the family and figure out what's going on," Hamilton said. "I'd love to stay here. They understand it and know that. ... Even if you send me off with boos, I still love you."

Wiped out by San Francisco in the 2010 World Series, the Rangers twice were within a strike of their first World Series championship last October against St. Louis.

When the Rangers committed more than $107 million last winter to acquire Darvish, they did so with the anticipation he'd be on the mound for many big games.

"Me and my teammates and the Rangers' fans, I don't think we all thought that it would end this early," Darvish said through a translator. "I mean, right now, no. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do tomorrow."

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