SEATTLE -- The Rangers had a one-run lead going into the eighth inning on Friday night and a rested bullpen. In an inning that has been trouble for them all season, manager Ron Washington turned the ball over to emerging right-handed reliever Shawn Tolleson.
Tolleson retired the side in order on seven pitches and Joakim Soria shut the game down in the ninth for his 14th save. Using Tolleson in that situation shows the rising faith manager Ron Washington has in a pitcher who was claimed off waivers from the Dodgers last offseason, but has become an integral member of the Rangers bullpen.
"It seems the last few times out there I have come into some tight ballgames," Tolleson said. "I'm excited about that. You want to be in there when there is a lot on the line. At the same time, nothing has changed, you still have to get outs. We've got some guys down in the bullpen who have done a great job. If I can get in there with them, that's great."
Tolleson's scoreless inning earned him the win when the Rangers scored in the ninth for a 1-0 victory. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA while opponents are hitting .205 against him. His 1.09 WHIP is the third lowest behind Soria (0.67) and Jason Frasor (1.07).
The Rangers lost two potential eighth-inning setup relievers when Tanner Scheppers and Alexi Ogando went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Neither is expected back anytime soon. The Rangers have been outscored 38-22 in the eighth this year, their biggest run differential for any inning.
"You hate to see those guys down," Tolleson said. "Those are guys definitely capable of pitching late in the game. You hate to see them go down but somebody has to step up and fill a role. If there is the opportunity … I'll do it. I'm also still willing to be the long man and go two innings, be a multi-purpose guy."
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.