Rangers need steady bridge to top relievers

Banister forced to call on Diekman, Dyson to close out win against Mariners

Rangers need steady bridge to top relievers

SEATTLE -- Rangers closer Sam Dyson earned his 10th save in Texas' 6-4 win over the Mariners, but it came with an unusual ending.

Dyson, who entered with a three-run lead, gave up a run-scoring single to Cano with two outs in ninth. But Robinson Cano, on a line drive to the right-field corner, tried to turn it into a double and was thrown out by right fielder Nomar Mazara to end the game.

"Pretty excited," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Give Mazara part of the save. It's not how you draw it out, but it's good to get a win."

Banister didn't want anybody to get a save. The Rangers led 6-1 after seven innings, and Banister was hoping to put this one away without using left-handed setup reliever Jake Diekman in the eighth or Dyson in the ninth.

"Absolutely," Banister said.

It didn't work out that way. Tony Barnette, who has been reliable in middle relief this season, ran into trouble in the eighth when he allowed three straight one-out singles to load the bases. With red-hot Dae-Ho Lee at the plate and Kyle Seager on-deck, Banister brought in Diekman.

"I didn't want it to go any further," Banister said. "I wanted to have one of our best out there."

Diekman struck out Lee. But he hit Seager with an 0-2 pitch to force in one run and walked Chris Iannetta to bring home another. That brought pitching coach Doug Brocail to the mound with Leonys Martin at the plate and Matt Bush warming up in the bullpen.

"You've got to throw strikes," Diekman said. "You can't hit people or walk a guy in, stuff like that."

Diekman said he knew Martin was going to be his last hitter with Bush warming up in the bullpen.

"You've just got to get him out … make pitches, re-zone in," Diekman said.

Diekman ends trouble

Diekman did, getting Martin on a grounder to second to end the inning. But Banister, with a three-run lead, had to go with Dyson in the ninth inning.

"We had a five-run lead … that's been a nemesis for us," Banister said. "We've had some leads. We've got to find somebody to shut those down, get those last six outs. It's been a little bit of a puzzlement. We'd like to close these games and move past using those two guys."

Dyson has pitched in 33 of the Rangers' first 63 games. He's off to a good start toward breaking Mitch Williams' club record of 85 appearances in one season. Diekman is on pace for 77 appearances, although he is happy with the workload.

"I feel I do better the more work I get," Diekman said. "I get time off … I feel rusty."

The Rangers still need depth in their bullpen. The best way to get it would be for Shawn Tolleson (9.50 ERA) and Tom Wilhelmsen (8.41) to regain Banister's trust. There is also the hope that the Rangers will get injured relievers Keone Kela and Tanner Scheppers back by the All-Star break.

A trade is also a possibility. The Rangers acquired Justin De Fratus from the Mariners on Friday as Triple-A depth, which shows they are talking to other clubs about relief help.

The Rangers don't want to run their best relievers into the ground before September. It's a definite concern for Banister right now.

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.