Bullpen ineffective in loss to Athletics

Bullpen ineffective in loss to Athletics

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington called it "rough." Rangers reliever Jamey Wright called it "frustrating," while Robinson Tejeda couldn't even explain it.

Whatever the reason, the Rangers' bullpen got rocked in the seventh inning for nine runs as Oakland came from behind to take the series finale, 13-8, on a perfect Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers, who are now 5-13 in day games, still won the series, 2-1, and have won nine of their last 11.

Wright, Tejeda and Frank Francisco combined to throw 68 pitches in the fateful seventh, as Oakland sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on six hits -- including two home runs -- with three walks.

"Rough," Washington said. "We just had a rough outing. We just didn't have anything today. Just a bad day out of the 'pen. We need to get a shower and let that one go."

The Rangers entered the game as hot as the Texas weather, with 16 wins in their last 24 games and just a half-game behind Oakland in the American League West standings. With Sunday's loss, the Rangers (29-29) fell back to .500 and are now 1 1/2 games back of the A's.

It appeared, however, that Texas might complete its first three-game sweep in five tries this year after getting another quality start from Scott Feldman, his fifth of the season.

The Rangers led, 7-4, after the sixth and Feldman had thrown just 85 pitches. Washington opted to go to the bullpen, which had been solid over the past seven games with a 1.31 ERA, and because of the 90-degree heat beating down on Feldman all game.

The maneuver, obviously, didn't work out. The highlight for Oakland (30-27), which scored eight runs before an out was recorded in the seventh, was an upper-deck shot from Jack Cust. Two batters later, Mark Ellis, batting for the second time in the inning, ripped a solo home run over the left-field fence to give the Athletics a six-run lead.

"I felt good and strong, but I got behind a few hitters and didn't get any outs," said Wright (3-2), who took the loss. "I didn't do my job. I'm certainly not going to hang my head, because we've been playing great."

"I don't know what to say," said Tejeda, who allowed three runs on two hits and a walk. "It's one of those days. We got to keep our heads up and get ready for next time."

The six-run deficit proved insurmountable for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton cut it to five with a solo home run in the ninth, but that was as close as the Rangers would come.

"You just have those days, and today was ours," catcher Gerald Laird said. "You're going to have those games."

On the bright side for the Rangers, however, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the second longest of his career, with a single in the first. Ian Kinsler also extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a single in the sixth.

The Rangers grabbed an early 2-0 lead on Milton Bradley's two-run blast to left-center in the second.

The Athletics responded, though, cutting the lead to one in the third when Jack Hannahan led off with a double. He moved to third on a Feldman balk and scored on Bobby Crosby's grounder to short.

In the fifth, Oakland right fielder Travis Buck, who entered the game hitting .164 with no home runs, drilled a 0-1 fastball over the right-field fence to tie the game at 2. That's when the wheels started coming off for Feldman, who retired the first seven batters to start the game. The Athletics took the lead on Kurt Suzuki's RBI single to left and scored another on Hannahan's sacrifice fly.

The Rangers answered with a five-run rally in the sixth. The first six Rangers batters that inning reached base, including four consecutive singles from Hamilton, Bradley, David Murphy and Laird.

But it wouldn't enough, as Oakland pounced on the Rangers' bullpen the next inning.

"There's nothing we can do about [it]," Young said. "We scored runs and Feldman pitched a good game, but [Oakland] had a big inning. It's one of those things that happen, but we'll come out tomorrow ready to play."

Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.