Rangers' chase stalls as A's win in extras

Rangers' chase stalls as A's win in extras

Rangers' chase stalls as A's win in extras
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman saw Yu Darvish walk into the clubhouse around 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday complaining of stiffness in his neck. Right then, Feldman knew there was a possibility that he may have to make another spot start that night against the Athletics.

"I was fine with it," Feldman said. "It's not like I went out and had 30 beers the night before. I did my regular stuff and was ready to go."

Mark Lowe had no idea he was going to pitch. The veteran reliever has become the forgotten man in the Rangers' bullpen and had pitched just twice over the previous three weeks.

"It's not an excuse, but it does make it harder when you're not in there consistently," Lowe said.

Lowe was called upon in the 10th inning and didn't get it done. Instead, he gave up a leadoff home run to George Kottaras that gave the Athletics a 3-2 victory at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Lowe fell behind 3-1 in the count. Kottaras fouled off one fastball and then hit the next one into the upper deck in right field to break the 2-2 tie.

"I wanted to get ahead of him like I try to do with every hitter," Lowe said. "I fell behind and I didn't want to put him on. I ended up throwing a fastball over the middle of the plate."

Lowe was the fourth reliever used by the Rangers after Feldman went four-plus innings. Lowe entered the game in the 10th after Michael Kirkman, Koji Uehara and Alexi Ogando combined for five scoreless innings in a 2-2 game. Those three combined to allow one hit and one walk while striking out nine.

Rangers manager Ron Washington had Joe Nathan warming up in the ninth inning but decided against using him because he had pitched on Sunday and Monday. So had setup reliever Mike Adams, and Washington wasn't ready to go with rookie Tanner Scheppers in that situation. Scheppers hadn't pitched since Sept. 18, when he suffered a bruised knee in a collision at home plate while pitching against the Angels.

So Washington went with Lowe, who had allowed six runs on 11 hits over 2 2/3 innings in his previous four games.

"We can't go with Joe Nathan and Mike Adams out of the bullpen every night," Washington said. "Some of those other bullpen guys have to come in and get people out."

The Rangers, in splitting a pair of one-run games with the Athletics, now lead them by four games in the American League West with eight left to play. The Rangers have two left with Oakland in this four-game series and their magic number to win the division is still at five.

"This is the time of the year where everybody is playing for the postseason, and we expect all these games to be tight games," first baseman Michael Young said. "That's what makes them so fun."

The Rangers scored two runs in the first inning against Athletics lefty Tommy Milone and didn't cross home plate the rest of the night. The problem remains hitting with runners in scoring position. Texas was 1-for-6 in those situations on Tuesday night and is 5-for-52 in the last nine games.

"The biggest thing is we're getting them out there," Young said. "As long as we do that, we feel confident that we'll be able to get them home. It was definitely a pitching day. We pitched well and they did, too."

The Rangers could have used one more run out of the first inning. Ian Kinsler led off the first with a single to left and Elvis Andrus lined a base hit to right. With runners on first and second, Josh Hamilton ripped a single through the right side. Right fielder Brandon Moss charged the ball hard, trying to keep Kinsler from scoring, but he let it get past him. Two runners scored and Hamilton ended up at third.

He stayed there and the Rangers would rue not getting the extra run. Milone retired Adrian Beltre on a first-pitch foul pop, Nelson Cruz on a short roller in front of the plate and Young on a strikeout.

"We just didn't get it done there," Washington said.

Feldman ran into trouble in the second when he walked two of the first three batters in the inning. Daric Barton followed with a double to right, driving home one run and leaving runners on second and third.

But Feldman got out of the inning by getting Josh Donaldson on a grounder to third -- holding the runners -- and Kottaras on a grounder to short. Chris Carter tied it up in the fourth with a two-out home run on a 2-1 curve that was hit over the left-field wall.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.