LOS ANGELES -- Opponents haven't had much difficulty roughing up the Rangers over the past few games. It happened again Wednesday night -- literally -- but Texas was ultimately unable to respond with a haymaker strong enough to overwhelm its opponent.
The Rangers fell to the Dodgers, 3-2, in 11 innings at Dodger Stadium in walk-off fashion. With one out and the bases loaded, Austin Barnes dribbled what appeared to be a sure out at home in front of reliever Matt Bush. However, the veteran right-hander's throw home pulled catcher Carlos Perez off the plate, allowing Enrique Hernandez to maneuver his way to home plate for the winning run.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the ending was "pretty much" heartbreaking to see, having watched his team battle over the course of the game.
"The situation we were going into with Matt, he's got plenty of time to collect himself and make a solid throw to the plate," Banister said. "It looked like he rushed it a little bit, got excited about making the play. Threw it away. Didn't have an opportunity to tag the runner there."
While Bush's errant throw serves as perhaps serves as the most consequential play of the evening, his mistake was set up by right-hander Jesse Chavez, who took the losing decision after the runner he left on-base upon exiting with one out in the 11th frame came around to score.
Chavez, who's been one of the Rangers' better performers out of the bullpen as of late, had been able to get out of a ninth-inning jam earlier in the contest, but he wasn't as fortunate in the 11th. The result marked the Rangers' season-high sixth straight loss.
The wild game-ending play overshadowed a benches-clearing fracas during the bottom of the third inning. Hernandez slapped a single into right field with Matt Kemp charging from second for home plate. A great throw from Nomar Mazara reached catcher Robinson Chirinos well ahead of Kemp, but it pulled him into Kemp's pathway. Kemp continued his charge towards home and barreled into Chirinos, who held on for the inning-ending out, but got into a shoving match with Kemp after the play which led to the benches and bullpens to clear.
"I was not expecting it, because nowadays no one goes after you," Chirinos said. "I know it happened. I'm not mad it happened. I'm mad the way he went after me on the ground."
Chirinos and Kemp were both ejected from the contest. The play overshadowed what turned into a milestone night for third baseman Adrian Beltre.
During the fourth inning, Beltre -- who finished the night 3-for-4 with a double and a a walk -- collected his 3,090th career hit off Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda to move past Ichiro Suzuki for the most by a foreign-born player. However, just like Bartolo Colon's 2,500th strikeout Tuesday night, the Rangers would not be able to celebrate the accomplishment.
The loss wasted a solid outing by starting left-hander Cole Hamels, who kept the homer-happy Dodgers quiet on the evening, aside from Justin Turner's solo blast in the opening frame. Hamels tossed six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks. He struck out six batters.
"I thought he settled down after the first couple hitters," Banister said. "Did make a mistake to Turner with that changeup out over the plate. Other than that, he threw extremely very well."
Texas is now a season-worst 18 games back of the first-place Mariners in the American League West after suffering a two-game sweep to the Dodgers.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After a quality outing from Hamels, and relievers Jose Leclerc and Jake Diekman combined for two shutout innings, the Rangers handed the ball to Chavez to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. A leadoff walk by outfielder Yasiel Puig and a single from second baseman John Forsythe placed runners on the corners with no outs when Barnes stepped up to the plate.
Chavez, however, managed to escape unscathed. He induced Barnes into a sharply hit double play at second baseman Rougned Odor that prevented Puig from advancing home on the play. Yasmani Grandal entered as a pinch-hitter and drove a long fly ball to deep center that seemed destined to put the game away before center fielder Delino DeShields leapt into the air and caught the ball for the final out of the inning. The grab kept the game tied at 2 apiece and sent the game to extras.
"Great decision by Rougy on that play to actually go after the runner at first, then you get the out at first for the double play," Banister said. "I thought it was a great decision play by him, and then obviously the great play by Delino. Just an incredible play."
HE SAID IT
"I got mad. When he was starting to get up, he kind of leaned into me with his shoulder. That's when I pushed him. Part of the game. Sorry for the fans that are watching that. It's not supposed to happen, but it happens, man." -- Chirinos, on what happened during home-plate collision that led to benches clearing
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
While the Dodgers were celebrating what they believed was a most unlikely walk-off win, the Rangers were filing a challenge with the umpires on Hernandez's game-winning "slide," hoping that Perez's swipe tag hit something besides air. After viewing all relevant angles, the replay official definitively determined that Perez failed to tag Hernandez prior to the runner touching home plate and confirmed the safe call.
"You've got to be able to collect your thoughts and slow yourself down," Banister said.
The Rangers will begin a three-game series against the Rockies on Friday night at Globe Life Park. Left-hander Yohander Mendez, who is ranked Los Angeles' No. 7 prospect, will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to make his first career start in the Major Leagues. Chad Bettis (4-1, 4.40 ERA) will start for Colorado, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.