Rangers’ 9th-inning rally all for naught
Kelley on the defeat: 'It’s tough to lose one like that'
ANAHEIM -- Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley took his second blown save of the season on Saturday, but that wasn’t the toughest part of the night.
“It's more the way it happened,” Kelley said after the Rangers had their five-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium.
The Rangers, trailing 1-0 into the ninth, scored two in the top of the inning against Angels closer Hansel Robles to take the lead, only to see the Angels rally in the bottom of the inning for the win. There were a couple of tough defensive plays that went against the Rangers that proved pivotal in that final inning.
“The way the guys scraped it together to get us two runs, a chance to nail it down, it’s tough to lose one like that,” Kelley said. “The big thing is coming back tomorrow and winning the series. It would have been nice to do it tonight, but it didn’t happen.”
The Rangers managed just three hits through eight innings against Angels starter Tyler Skaggs and three relievers. But an RBI double by Ronald Guzman and a go-ahead single by Rougned Odor put them in position to win for the first time this season when trailing after eight innings.
“Obviously a tremendous job by us offensively at the end,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We didn’t have much going on all night.”
That left it to Kelley, who had been successful on five straight save opportunities since being named the Rangers' closer. Kelley started the inning by getting Brian Goodwin on a flyout to right field, before Luis Rengifo singled up the middle.
Kole Calhoun followed with a double into the right-center gap, which Joey Gallo cut off and got back to the infield quickly. But Odor, with his back to home plate, had to go far to his right to get the throw, which took him out of the proper position to make an accurate relay.
Rengifo ran through third-base coach Mike Gallego’s stop sign and the gamble paid off. Odor’s throw was to the right of home plate and catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa couldn’t make a play.
“I kind of got twisted around, and it’s hard to throw home like that,” Odor said.
Kelley then retired Zack Cozart on a liner to center, bringing up catcher Dustin Garreau. Angels manager Brad Ausmus, however, countered with left-handed-hitting Jared Walsh, a two-way player who was called up from the Minors 10 days ago. The Rangers shifted their defensive alignment for Walsh to pull with shortstop Elvis Andrus shading towards the middle -- a move that made the difference on the final play of the game.
Walsh hit a weak popup down the left-field line and Kelley thought the inning was over.
“When I heard the sound off the bat, I was thinking that at least we still had a chance to win the game,” Kelley said.
But there was the shift.
“If I’m playing normal, I catch that ball in a heartbeat,” Andrus said.
Andrus said he should have made sure left fielder Hunter Pence knew he was playing up the middle.
“That was miscommunication on my part,” Andrus said.
Andrus got to the ball, but Pence was coming after it too.
“I kind of flinched a little bit at the end,” Andrus said.
The ball fell in and Calhoun came racing home with the winning run.
“That ball had a funky spin,” Woodward said. “That’s a play he’ll tell you he should make. Elvis is one of the best in the league at going back on balls, it’s obviously a tough play if he didn’t make it.”