There are times when Nelson Cruz can single-handedly keep an offense afloat.

And there are times like Friday’s 2-1 loss to Detroit when he gets dragged through the undertow.

On Friday, when the Rangers went a season-worst 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, Cruz stood out as the biggest of the one-night failures. For the second time in his career, he bounced into a pair of double plays, both of which killed excellent rally chances.

“There are a lot of games,” Cruz said. “You can’t change your approach because of one game. You have to keep doing the job the same way. You aren’t going to get the results you want every time.”

It is just one game, and just the third loss in 12 one-run decisions this season. It comes on the heels of seven wins in the previous eight games, during which Cruz had four home runs and nine RBIs.

With the departure of Josh Hamilton, nobody in the Rangers’ lineup can change like the Texas weather — going from one extreme to the other at a moment’s notice — like Cruz.

For example, there is the last week’s worth of games. In addition to those four homers and nine RBIs over the last nine games, there are 10 strikeouts and four double-play grounders.

For May, Cruz has 10 hits split equally between homers and singles. This from a guy who ranked fifth in the AL last year with 45 doubles. Despite the homers, he is just 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position for the month. Regardless of situation, he’s batting just .185 for 54 at-bats.

Cruz wasn’t the only one to fail Friday. After Leonys Martin tripled with one out in the third, Elvis Andrus couldn’t get the ball past a drawn-in infield, lining softly to first baseman Prince Fielder.

Perhaps appropriately, the game ended with pinch runner Ian Kinsler stranded at second base on Craig Gentry’s grounder.

“We just didn’t cash in opportunities,” manager Ron Washington said. “You’re going to have games like that.”

The challenge for the Rangers — and Cruz, in particular — is to ensure that one game doesn’t turn into something that lasts much longer.