Penned in: Diekman, Bush struggle

Up three runs in ninth inning, duo allow Red Sox to rally

Penned in: Diekman, Bush struggle

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister wanted to stay away from closer Sam Dyson on Friday night. Left-hander Jake Diekman and right-hander Matt Bush are usually reliable alternatives in those situations.

That wasn't the case on Friday. The Rangers held a three-run lead going into ninth before the Red Sox rallied for four runs against Diekman and Bush in an 8-7 victory. The Rangers had been successful on 16 straight save chances, and this was their first blown save since May 17 in Oakland.

That was about the time Dyson took over as closer, but he went into Friday leading the American League with 39 relief appearances. That puts him on pace for 86 appearances on the season, which would break the club record of 84 set by Mitch Williams in 1987.

Banister is not eager for Dyson to break that record.

"We've got to have other guys to be able to pitch besides Dyson," Banister said. "I made the decision. Dyson ... the number of innings and appearances have been challenging. I wanted to give him the opportunity, especially coming off [Thursday's] off-day, to try and give him a couple of days off.

"He is a workhorse, but nobody can stand up to that kind of pace. We've got to have other guys step up and pitch in those situations."

Diekman has proven he can pitch in those situations. He has two saves and brought a 2.28 ERA into the game with opponents hitting .156 off him.

But Diekman walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the inning after getting ahead 0-2 in the count.

"You can't walk people in a situation like that," Diekman said.

Leon's RBI double

Diekman came back to strike out Bryce Brentz and retired Travis Shaw on a popup to short. Red Sox manager John Farrell then sent up backup catcher Sandy Leon for Christian Vazquez. Leon worked an 11-pitch at-bat, fouling five two-strike pitches before ripping an RBI double to left field.

"I thought the inning set up well for Diekman," Banister said. "Leon had a great at-bat."

With the Rangers leading 7-5, Banister then brought in Bush to face the right-handed-hitting Mookie Betts. Bush was going for his first Major League save, but Betts hit a 1-1 pitch over the left-center-field wall for a game-tying home run.

Betts' game-tying homer

"The fastball out of my hand, it felt like I kind of hit the outside corner, but looking back, I didn't," Bush said. "The ball got a little too much plate. He did his job and put a good swing on it and belted a home run."

The inning didn't stop there. Dustin Pedroia drew a walk and went to third on Xander Bogaerts' single to right. That brought up David Ortiz, and on a 1-2 pitch, Bush let a 98-mph fastball get away from him for a wild pitch that brought home Pedroia with the game-winning run.

Pedroia races home on wild pitch

"Just trying to go fastball up to Ortiz and make sure if he offered at it he wasn't going to hit it," Bush said. "It got a little inside on him there at 98 mph, and it got away from [catcher Bobby Wilson]."

The Rangers entered the game 44-2 when leading after eight.

"You have to understand, we're humans, and especially the bullpen, they've been so terrific all year," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "They're the reason that we're here and that we have the lead we're in, in the first place."

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.