Rangers' bullpen misfires in crucial moments

Rangers' bullpen misfires in crucial moments

MINNEAPOLIS -- This is how manager Jeff Banister expects to use his bullpen over the final two months of the season. He is just hoping for better results than what happened on Tuesday night.

Two free passes were what irked Banister the most after the Twins rallied with two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth for a 3-2 walk-off win over the Rangers at Target Field. Both rallies started with a walk and both ended up scoring.

Eliminating the ill-timed walks would be a good way to achieve the desired results.

"Yeah, I mean, walks at this level, they can come back to get you," Banister said.

Kela on pitching in Minors

Banister had a fully rested bullpen after Colby Lewis pitched a complete game on Sunday and the Rangers' off-day on Monday. So when starter Yovani Gallardo, holding a 2-0 lead, hit the 100-pitch mark with a two-out walk to Joe Mauer in the sixth, Banister was ready to bring the heat out of the bullpen.

Banister had Sam Dyson finish the sixth, Keone Kela for the seventh and Jake Diekman for the eighth. All three came out of the 'pen throwing 96-99 mph with their fastball.

"That's the formula that's going to be a winning formula for us," Banister said. "We had the guys in there we want and the matchups we wanted. But it's not always perfect. It's not always the way you want it."

Dyson got the Rangers out of the sixth and Kela, who was just promoted from Triple-A, retired the side in order in the seventh. But Diekman ran into trouble in the eighth and it started with a leadoff walk to Eduardo Escobar, the No. 9 hitter in the Twins' order.

"I just knew my fastball was flat right away," Diekman said. "I had to attack the bottom of the zone. If you do that, good things will happen. But everything was belt high."

Diekman got Aaron Hicks on a flyout and center fielder Delino DeShields made a tremendous catch on Brian Dozier's deep fly ball. But Mauer and Miguel Sano hit back-to-back RBI doubles to tie the score. They were the first runs given up by Diekman in seven outings since being acquired by the Phillies.

"He just didn't get the pitches where he wanted them," Banister said. "He did have the run on the fastball that he normally has. It's definitely not characteristic of what we've seen from him, but I haven't lost any confidence in what Jake can do for us and why we got him."

Escobar's walk-off double

Instead of getting the ball to closer Shawn Tolleson for the ninth, Banister had to bring in Spencer Patton. He got the Rangers out of the eighth with the score still tied. But he walked Kurt Suzuki with two out in the ninth and that proved fatal.

"I felt pretty good, just than one batter, the two-out walk," Patton said. "Anytime you have a two-out walk, that's never your best friend ... walks in general."

Patton also went to a full-count with Escobar. That gave Suzuki a running start as Escobar lined a pitch down the right-field line that landed a couple feet fair. Suzuki had no trouble scoring and the Rangers lost for the third time in their last four games.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.