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Rangers bullpen falters in 10-inning loss to A's

Andrus hits 1st career grand slam in 6th inning before Oakland rally spoils 8-run lead
July 24, 2018

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister was fuming, He was not about to "chalk this one up" to just a bad night at the ballpark, not after the Rangers let an eight-run lead get away from them."No, you don't chalk this one up," Banister said. "Obviously a challenging game giving

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister was fuming, He was not about to "chalk this one up" to just a bad night at the ballpark, not after the Rangers let an eight-run lead get away from them.
"No, you don't chalk this one up," Banister said. "Obviously a challenging game giving up 11 runs in [the last] four innings. Seven walks late, costly error. In winning situations you've got to throw strikes and get hitters out. [There were] situations where we just didn't do that tonight."
The Rangers had a 10-2 lead after six innings, but the Athletics rallied to get it into extra innings and Khris Davis won it with a three-run home run in the top of the 10th off of reliever Austin Bibens-Dirkx for a 13-10 victory on Tuesday night. This was the second-largest lead the Rangers have ever let get away in a loss in club history. The Rangers, despite throwing a shutout on Sunday, have allowed 44 runs in the past four games and 30 have come against the bullpen.
It was also the first blown save by Keone Kela in 2018 after being successful on his first 23 save opportunities. He was trying for his first five-out save of the season after getting the final two outs of the eighth but gave up a leadoff home run to Stephen Piscotty in the ninth.

"I was feeling good," Kela said. "Came out, top of the ninth, made a bad pitch to Piscotty, he was able to put the barrel on the ball and hit it to dead center. Definitely my first time coming out in the eighth inning, and it was a new experience, a learning lesson. I was trying to hold the lead for the team, so it's a learning lesson. [I'll] carry it to the next time I have the opportunity."
This game was not lost on one pitch.
The Rangers had a 10-2 lead after six innings on home runs by Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun and a grand slam by Elvis Andrus. Mike Minor was in position to get the win after holding the Athletics to two runs in five innings. Reliever Cory Gearrin also pitched a scoreless sixth before the bullpen ran into trouble.

The Athletics scored three runs off Brandon Mann and Jose Leclerc in the seventh and four more off Jake Diekman in the eighth to make it a one-run game. Diekman walked three and hit one batter while getting just one out. But Andrus made a huge error in bobbling a potential inning-ending double play grounder that would have allowed Diekman to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
This marked the first time in 148 appearances with the Rangers that Diekman has walked three batters in one game.
"It looked like some were in the box," Diekman said. "You can't spot up on a pitch and miss by three feet, then miss by an inch, miss your spot inside. It just was not consistent."
Diekman now has a 7.94 ERA in 22 appearances at Globe Life Park and a 0.47 ERA in 22 outings on the road.
"I feel terrible at home when I pitch [poorly] at home," Diekman said. "No idea. Keep pitching. Figure it out. Can't fall [behind] 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 to hitters. I got to figure out a way to smooth out my mechanics and get up in good pitcher's counts instead of falling behind."

Kela entered the game with the score 10-7, the bases loaded and one out. Jed Lowrie smacked a two-run single up the middle that glanced off Kela's index finger, but he came back to retire the next two hitters. The finger did not keep him from returning in the ninth.
"Very challenging to get five outs," Banister said. "We were up against it. Felt like at the time we needed to make the move to go to Keone to try and preserve the best lead we possibly could. First time he has gone out in that situation, learning experience for him. One mistake, I thought he battled well, the stuff was there. One of those situations I believe he'll be better for it going forward."
Diekman, with the Rangers leading 10-5, walked three straight hitters with one out in the eighth. Marcus Semien followed with a double-play grounder right at Andrus that should have ended the inning. But Andrus fumbled it for an error and the Athletics rally continued.

This was the first time the Athletics rallied from eight runs down to win a game since Aug. 30, 1939, against the St. Louis Browns when they were still in Philadelphia. 
Gallo's home run leading off the sixth had an exit velocity of 110.3 mph. He has 14 home runs with an exit velocity of at least 110 mph, the most in the Major Leagues.

"I told Banister I have a durable arm. Sometimes the rest of me hurts, but my arm is pretty consistent. I told him I was ready to go." -- Bibens-Dirkx, who was pitching on two days' rest after throwing 87 pitches on Saturday
Left-hander Martin Perez (2-4, 8.05 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Globe Life Park. Perez is 8-7 with a 5.23 ERA in 17 career starts against the A's. Veteran righty Edwin Jackson (1-2, 2.93) will start for Oakland.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.