Jackson, Claudio give rest of 'pen a breather

Banister uses young hurlers in big spots as main relievers get a break

Jackson, Claudio give rest of 'pen a breather

CLEVELAND -- Manager Jeff Banister had an obvious goal as the Rangers went into extra innings against the Indians on Wednesday night. Banister was trying to pull off a sweep against the Indians without using his prime-time relievers.

So he went with right-hander Luke Jackson and left-hander Alex Claudio. Banister said both threw the ball well, but the Rangers didn't get the results they wanted as the Indians walked off with a 5-4 victory in 11 innings.

Jackson and Claudio pitched in relief of Cole Hamels, who went seven innings and 110 pitches. Banister did not have right-handers Matt Bush, Tony Barnette and Sam Dyson warm up at all in the final four innings. Left-hander Jake Diekman got up just once and Cesar Ramos had pitched three innings for a save on Monday.

Banister was determined to stay away from that group as much as he could.

"Absolutely," Banister said. "Going into the off-day and we've had some games where the back end of the bullpen worked hard. We were coming off a couple of series where we had to close some games out. We're trying to protect some guys."

The Rangers ended up losing for the fifth time in six extra-innings games this season. They also have seven walk-off losses, three more than any other club.

"I thought Jackson did a good job," Banister said. "I thought Claudio did a great job. You have to tip your cap to the Indians ... good hitting on their part."

The Rangers expected the bullpen to be their strength, but right now they are short out there. Keone Kela and Tanner Scheppers are on the disabled list until at least the All-Star break, and Tom Wilhelmsen and Andrew Faulkner are in the Minors trying to work out their issues. Shawn Tolleson is expected back Friday from family emergency medical leave.

This would have been a good night for Jackson and Claudio to pick up the rest of the bullpen.

"Whenever I get the opportunity, I've got to give those guys some rest," said Jackson, the Rangers' No. 16 prospect. "They have been our workhorses all year."

Jackson came into the game in the eighth inning with the score tied at 3 and retired the first two hitters he faced. But then he gave up a two-out double to Jose Ramirez and a one-out single to Juan Uribe that put the Indians ahead.

"The first inning I left some pitches up and it cost us," Jackson said.

The Rangers tied it in the top of the ninth, and Jackson responded with a scoreless bottom of the inning. He started the 10th by walking Mike Napoli and then got Carlos Santana to hit into a forceout at second base. Claudio then took over, getting Ramirez on a lineout to shortstop and striking out Michael Martinez, who had entered the game in the ninth defensively.

Claudio fans Martinez

But the 11th didn't go as well. Lefty hitter Lonnie Chisenhall doubled down the left-field line, and Yan Gomes bounced a single up the middle to bring home the winning run.

"I thought Claudio did a good job of getting those two outs when he came in," Banister said. "But sometimes good placement of base hits gets you beat."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.