ANAHEIM -- For the second straight day, the Rangers' bullpen lost a game in the ninth inning. The fifth inning control lapses of starter Derek Holland also didn't help as the Rangers went down, 4-3, to the Angels on Thursday night.The final blow was Albert Pujols, batting with the bases
ANAHEIM -- For the second straight day, the Rangers' bullpen lost a game in the ninth inning. The fifth inning control lapses of starter Derek Holland also didn't help as the Rangers went down, 4-3, to the Angels on Thursday night.
The final blow was Albert Pujols, batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, driving one deep into the left-center gap to bring home the winning run against Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson. Pujols delivered on a 1-0 fastball.
"I was trying to get him out," Tolleson said. "I was trying to get ahead and I wasn't able to do it. I threw a fastball up and over the plate and he's a good hitter. He did what he was supposed to do."
It's easy to dwell on the latest misfortune of the bullpen, but manager Jeff Banister said the fifth inning was just as crucial.
Holland took a 2-1 lead into the fifth, but issued a leadoff walk to Kole Calhoun, the Angels No. 6 hitter, and a one-out walk to Geovany Soto. Holland then got Johnny Giavotella to fly out but a single by Yunel Escobar scored one run and a double by Craig Gentry gave the Angels a 3-2 lead.
"Two walks in the fifth," Banister said. "It was a situation where Derek was rolling pretty good and gives up two walks. That was the inning if you look back on it. The bullpen gave up one run, the winning run, but I thought the bullpen threw the ball pretty well … much more crisp than the previous two days. The walks and the two runs [in the fifth] were what got us."
Holland exited after five innings and 92 pitches.
"I went right after them, it was not like I was not picking," Holland said. "The pitches were the right ones. I just didn't execute. I'm upset because I gave away those at-bats."
The Rangers bullpen actually battled hard right down to the last batter on a night when reliever Sam Dyson got the loss for what happened in the ninth rather than being rewarded for some stout work in the eighth.
The Rangers got a scoreless inning from Tom Wilhelmsen in the sixth and Keone Kela in the seventh. Kela then gave up a single to Mike Trout to start the eighth and Banister brought in Dyson. He gave up infield singles to Pujols and C.J. Cron to start the inning, but struck out Calhoun and got Simmons to ground into an inning-ending double play.
After a 12-pitch inning, Banister sent Dyson out for the ninth.
"I felt fine physically and mentally," Dyson said. "I just didn't get the job done. There are three outs in an inning, sometimes it's hard to get those outs."
The Rangers didn't get them. Pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi grounded out to start the inning but Giavotella singled and then Dyson walked Escobar on four straight pitches.
"I just kind of flubbed up there," Dyson said. "I tried to make quality pitches and it didn't happen. He was in a take mode the whole time. I knew that and I didn't throw it in the zone."
Andrew Faulkner took over, getting pinch-hitter Carlos Perez on a slow grounder that moved the runners to second and third. Trout was then walked intentionally to load the bases and bring up Pujols, who was 1-for-11 with the infield single to start the season prior to that at-bat.
Banister countered with Tolleson. Pujols is now 2-for-12 and the Rangers bullpen is 0-3 with an 11.57 ERA after four games. But this one went deeper than that.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.