Relief corps logs overtime vs. Rangers

Relief corps logs overtime vs. Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Astros starter Collin McHugh fell squarely on the sword, taking the blame for the Astros' 6-5 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. The Astros were forced to use seven relievers after McHugh was tagged for four runs in the first inning and couldn't escape the fourth.

Five relievers combined to throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings before Prince Fielder led off the ninth with a single off lefty Oliver Perez and pinch-runner Drew Stubbs scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Moreland off Will Harris to send the Rangers past the Astros and into first place in the American League West.

"I wasn't really good in any aspect of the game today," McHugh said. "I didn't have good command, didn't have good stuff, I didn't hold runners well. It makes the broken-bat hits, the hits off the end of the bat, the little ones, it makes them mean more and hurt more when you can't do the small things well."

The Rangers didn't hit the ball particularly hard while jumping out to a four-run lead, running up McHugh's pitch count. McHugh needed 91 pitches to throw 3 2/3 innings, during which he allowed five runs on three walks and eight hits to snap his personal four-game winning streak.

"At the end of the day, this is my loss," he said. "This is 100 percent my loss. The hitters did their job. They picked me up, gave me a lead [in the top of the fourth], and I didn't hold it. Bullpen came in and held serve for five innings against a really good lineup. Defense played really well behind me and behind the bullpen. Everybody did their jobs. I didn't do my job today. This one's on me, 100 percent."

Manager A.J. Hinch mixed and matched his relievers for much of the game. Perez entered and retired Shin-Soo Choo to end the eighth, then faced the left-handed-hitting Fielder to start the ninth. Fielder singled to left, putting the Astros in a bind.

"The ball was right there," Perez said. "Sometimes you have to tip your hat, because he's a smart hitter and he was just trying to make contact. Sometimes that happens. It's part of the game. It's a tough loss, but we've got another chance tomorrow to come back."

Harris, who surrendered game-winning homers to the Angels' C.J. Cron on Saturday and Fielder in the eighth inning of Monday's loss, was greeted with a single by Adrian Beltre and Moreland's walk-off sac fly to center.

"We asked a lot out of our bullpen today," Hinch said. "It was a hard-fought game on both sides, a tough one to lose. Our guys battled. We battled on both sides of the ball. I'm proud of our guys for coming back after the four-spot in the first by them. Bullpen was almost perfect, and unfortunately at the end, they built an inning, and it happened fast."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.