NEW YORK -- Alex Rios was in the Rangers' lineup but went hitless in four at-bats on Thursday afternoon in the Bronx.
The Rangers managed just five hits against five Yankees pitchers and went down for the fifth time in seven games on their road trip, taking a 4-2 loss. Their offense is struggling, and it could get worse if Rios is absent for more than a few games because of a sprained right ankle.
The non-waiver Trade Deadline is a week away, Joakim Soria is on his way to Detroit and Rios could be the next to get traded. The Yankees are among the teams looking for hitting, according to their general manager, Brian Cashman, and the Rangers are clearly willing to listen to offers on almost any player, including Rios.
Rios was 1-for-2 in his return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing three games because of the ankle injury. He is hitting .297 in July and .299 for the season as one of the Rangers' last real trade chips in their efforts to start looking ahead to next year.
Rios said he is not thinking about the rumors and is instead focusing on playing the game. The most important thing right now is that his ankle feels better.
"I can move around and change directions, no problem," Rios said. "I'm a little conscious getting out of the box explosively, but it's not an issue."
The Rangers would like a quick fix for their offense. They lost on on Thursday for the 28th time in 34 games, and in that stretch they are hitting .245 with a .372 slugging percentage while averaging 3.6 runs per game. They are hitting .213 with runners in scoring position.
"I don't think anybody is pressing; everybody is doing the best they can," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "Some days we're hitting, some days we're not. We're just not consistent."
The Rangers did take a 1-0 lead in the third inning on three straight two-out singles by Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus. But that was their only hit in four at-bats with runners in scoring position against Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy and the four relievers behind him. The Rangers' other run came in the seventh inning on a home run by J.P. Arencibia, his third since he was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday.
"We're just not getting it done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're not taking advantage of the opportunities that we create, and we have to do that. That doesn't mean doing something big like hitting a home run or hitting a double. Sometimes it's just simple execution."
The Rangers couldn't take advantage of a strong start from Colby Lewis, who allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings. That's tied with a June 24 outing against the Tigers for Lewis' longest outing of the season. Against the Yankees, Lewis allowed four hits and three walks, striking out two.
Lewis retired nine of 10 hitters before Brett Gardner hit a check-swing double to start the Gardner He scored on a two-out single by Chase Headley. The Yankees then went ahead with two runs in the fifth.
Ichiro Suzuki reached on a leadoff walk and scored on a double by Francisco Cervelli. Brendan Ryan bunted Cervelli to third, and, after a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Gardner brought a run home with a sacrifice fly. Lewis walked Carlos Beltran before getting Brian McCann to fly out to end the inning. Lewis then retired the last four hitters he faced.
"I felt like I came out of my mechanics that one inning," Lewis said. "You don't want to walk three guys in one inning, but only one of them scored."
Lewis, 11 months removed from right hip surgery, is now 6-8 with a 6.23 ERA on the season.
"I felt like I was strong," Lewis said. "I feel like as the season has gone along, I've gotten stronger and stronger, which is great. I'm looking forward to the second half and seeing what I can do to help this ballclub win."
It has been difficult to win because the offense is struggling. If the Rangers find the right trade for Rios in the next week, it's going to get even more difficult.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.