Rangers 'pen rewrites story vs. Angels

Rangers 'pen rewrites story vs. Angels

ARLINGTON -- Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson was not going to turn down a combat assignment.

When the Rangers approached him before Saturday's game, an 11-10 loss, about the possibility of pitching for a fifth straight day, Tolleson said he could.

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"I told them I felt good," Tolleson said. "I was good to pitch."

Sam Dyson was also willing to pitch for a fifth straight day. So after Dyson threw a scoreless eighth to maintain the Rangers' four-run lead, manager Jeff Banister was ready to turn it over to Tolleson in the ninth.

"He was available," Banister said after the Angels scored five runs in the ninth off Tolleson and reliever Ross Ohlendorf. "I thought we had a four-run lead and a guy in the game who has been so good all year."

But Tolleson wasn't in there long. Erick Aybar made it a three-run lead when he hit a 2-2 changeup over the right-field wall for a home run. Tolleson threw one more changeup, this one to Kole Calhoun, and it also cleared the right-field wall. It's the first time this season Tolleson allowed two home runs in a game.

"I felt good," Tolleson said. "In the 'pen my stuff was really good. I went with the changeup, and I felt like they were sitting on that. It's a pitch I'm used to [having] taken for a called strike, and they were getting hold of it."

Banister saw enough with right-handed hitters Mike Trout and Albert Pujols coming up, and he brought in Ohlendorf to finish the game.

"You could tell early on it was going to be a challenge for [Tolleson], so I decided to make a move," Banister said.

Ohlendorf began by getting Trout on a grounder to short. That brought up Pujols, and the Rangers went into their defensive shift, moving second baseman Rougned Odor to the left side of the bag. Pujols responded by hitting a high popup down the right-field line.

Odor and first baseman Mike Napoli both gave chase, and both got there, but the ball hit off Napoli's glove. Then Odor's. Then it fell to the ground for a double.

"I had to run a lot, and I just couldn't get it," Odor said.

Ohlendorf struck out David Murphy for the second out. Then came the heartbreak. C.J. Cron grounded a single up the middle just beyond shortstop Elvis Andrus to send home Pujols, and David Freese kept the inning alive with a first-pitch single up the middle.

That brought up Carlos Perez, who battled the count to 2-2. Ohlendorf then jammed Perez with a 96-mph fastball, and Perez dropped it into center field for a broken-bat single.

Ohlendorf got ahead 1-2 on Johnny Giavotella but couldn't put him away. Giavotella fouled off three straight pitches before hitting a 95-mph fastball off the end of the bat for the go-ahead single.

"I felt like the ball was really coming out well," said Ohlendorf. "I felt like my fastball and slider were both really good. I've got to find a way to get the last three outs there. They did a good job hitting, but I need to get them out there."

The Rangers ended up using left-hander Andrew Faulkner to get out of the inning, and both teams used 18 pitchers in the game, setting an American League record. It is a record the Rangers wanted no part of on Saturday.

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.