Bullpen woes again as Texas loses 4-3

Associated Press
Texas Rangers pitcher Pedro Strop, right, stands in the visitors' dugout after he was pulled from a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in the eighth inning, Tuesday, May 3, 2011, in Seattle. Strop was charged with the loss as the Mariners beat the Rangers, 4-3. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
.

View gallery

Already on a bit of a slide, Ron Washington was asked his thoughts on the performance of his pitching staff entering Tuesday night's series opener in Seattle.

"My pitching is what it is and as long as they're healthy, they're human. They're going to have bad days, too," the Texas manager said.

If the Rangers' bullpen has too many bad days, it could become more than just a little worrisome for Washington.

Justin Smoak's RBI single in the eighth inning off reliever Pedro Strop pulled Seattle even, Jack Cust followed with the go-ahead RBI single off Darren Oliver and the Mariners rallied for a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Texas has now dropped five of six and since sweeping Kansas City April 22-24 to improve to 14-7, the Rangers have gone 2-7.

"We're not crying about it. The guys we've got down there, we've got confidence in them. We've just go to keep putting them out there and hope they get the job done," Washington said after the loss.

"We're not getting the job done right now," he added.

Already without Josh Hamilton and closer Neftali Feliz, the Rangers were given a couple of more issues on Tuesday night.

Starter Alexi Ogando pitched well through six innings, but was forced to leave after a blister formed under his fingernail. That meant Washington had to turn to his bullpen sooner than he wanted and just a day after the Rangers relievers blew their fourth save opportunity of the season.

Strop (0-1) had allowed just one earned run in his first 10 appearances this season, but gave up three against the Mariners. Strop gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Langerhans in the seventh and Langerhans later scored on Ichiro Suzuki's double-play grounder to pull Seattle even at 2-all.

Down 3-2, Seattle opened the eighth with a bloop single by Adam Kennedy that fell in front of David Murphy in left field. Miguel Olivo then dropped a bunt to advance pinch-runner Jack Wilson, but Strop slipped fielding the bunt and Olivo was safe.

Smoak grounded a 1-0 pitch into the hole between first and second. The grounder bounced off Mike Napoli as he dived and caromed into right field, allowing Wilson to score and Olivo to reach third.

Oliver replaced Strop and saw Cust line his first pitch back up the middle to score Olivo with the go-ahead run.

"It's good when you give your team the opportunity to win. I feel like I couldn't stop the bleeding," Strop said. "I'm upset."

Texas was held hitless for the first five innings by Seattle starter Erik Bedard, who threw seven strong innings. Ian Kinsler doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on Michael Young's single for a 2-1 lead. Texas retook the lead in the eighth when Julio Borbon singled off Seattle reliever David Pauley (1-0) and later scored on Elvis Andrus' perfectly placed squeeze bunt.

"It's hard. Bedard pitched a great game," Kinsler said. "We put ourselves in position to win. If you can do that every night with our team good things are going to happen."

Texas now must wait to see how Nelson Cruz feels on Wednesday. Cruz left the game in the seventh inning with tightness in his right quad. He's expected to be reexamined on Wednesday.

"I feel good right now," Cruz said. "I've got to wait till tomorrow and see how my body reacts. Hopefully it should just be one day off."

NOTES: Hamilton is expected to begin hitting off a tee on Wednesday. It's his first steps in returning from a broken right arm suffered last month against Detroit. ... Seattle rookie RHP Michael Pineda was named AL rookie of the month on Tuesday. Pineda went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in April.

View Comments (0)