Texas Rangers

Rangers swept to open season as Dyson struggles again

Manager Jeff Banister says Sam Dyson will stay Rangers closer

The Texas Rangers won't be replacing closer Sam Dyson, manager Jeff Banister said (video by Jeff Wilson).
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The Texas Rangers won't be replacing closer Sam Dyson, manager Jeff Banister said (video by Jeff Wilson).

The Texas Rangers are 0-3 for the first time since 2007 and 0-3 at home for the first time since 1991, when closer Sam Dyson was about to turn 3 years old.

Twenty-six years later, Dyson could be on the verge of turning into a set-up man.

He lost for the second time to open the season, surrendering five runs while recording only one out in the ninth inning Wednesday, and the Cleveland Indians left Globe Life Park with a 9-6 victory and a season-opening sweep of the Rangers.

Francisco Lindor connected for a grand slam in the ninth, his second homer of the game and the Indians’ third hit of the inning on the heels of consecutive walks, and Dyson’s immediate future as the Rangers’ closer was put into doubt.

Manager Jeff Banister, though, said that it’s too early in the season to replace Dyson with, presumably, Jeremy Jeffress or Matt Bush. It’s early, but the back of the Rangers’ bullpen has early issues for the third straight season.

“I think it’s a little early to reconsider things,” Banister said. “We’ve been in this situation before. It doesn’t look good because it’s the start of the season.

“It’s not the way we want to start the season. When you put runs on the board and you have a lead, we feel comfortable we have the guys in the bullpen to shut the door. We’ve got to figure it out. Sam’s got to figure it out. We’ll put our heads together and go to work on it.”

Nomar Mazara cracked a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Elvis Andrus connected for a solo shot, and Cole Hamels allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings in his 2017 debut.

Joey Gallo made what appeared to be the winning play for the Rangers in the fifth inning with his legs and hustle, but the moment went for naught.

Mazara gave Hamels some early support with a no-doubt two-run shot in the upper home-run porch in right field, and Hamels sailed through the first three innings.

Cole Hamels said the Rangers will come to the ballpark Friday after an off day with clear heads despite being swept by the Indians. (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

He needed only 39 pitches to set down the first nine Indians hitters. Only 12 of his pitches missed the strike zone.

The Indians kept swinging early in counts and finally started making some hay. They collected three singles in the fourth, one on a drive to left field that Mazara mistimed into a single and a two-out single by Jose Ramirez to even the score.

Cleveland pulled ahead with a run in the fifth, and it appeared as though Danny Salazar would escape a leadoff single by Jonathan Lucroy and a walk to Gallo. Elvis Andrus struck out and Delino DeShields popped out ahead of Shin-Soo Choo, who hit a two-out grounder to Lindor.

Lindor was playing near the outfield grass but just to the left of second base, and he took off toward the bag to step on it for the inning-ending force. Gallo, though, sprinted all the way and slid in safely.

Lindor still had time to get Choo at first base, but his throw was high and went into the camera well next to the Rangers’ dugout.

The runners were awarded two bases, allowing Lucroy and Gallo to score for a 4-3 lead and pushing Choo into scoring position. Mazara followed with a single, and the Rangers were up 5-3.

“That’s a great play by him,” Banister said. “That’s what we’ve worked on, that back-side runner getting a good lead, getting a good break and hustling down. That play isn’t made unless Joey’s getting to the bag.”

Cleveland stayed on the attack in the sixth, scoring once on a Lindor homer with one out. The Indians threatened for more, moving runners to first and second on a hit batsman and Hamels’ lone walk, but he escaped the threat with the Rangers’ lead preserved at 5-4.

Tony Barnette had to dance out of some trouble in the seventh, striking out Carlos Santana to end the inning with the tying run at third base. Andrus cashed in with his first homer of the season with one out in the seventh.

The Rangers had to sweat in out in the eighth, as Bush survived a leadoff walk and a deep drive by Edwin Encarnacion.

But the Rangers got cold sweats in the ninth as Dyson, who recorded 38 saves last season after taking over for Shawn Tolleson, saw the first two Indians hitters open the ninth with singles. A walk to No. 9 hitter Abraham Almonte two batters later loaded the bases, and Dyson then walked Santana to make it 6-5.

Banister stuck with Dyson, who saw Lindor clear the bases with a drive to right field.

Rangers closer Sam Dyson took responsibility for the Rangers 9-6 loss Wednesday to the Indians after giving up five runs in the ninth (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

“I think the last couple of times I went out there I’ve given up a hit to the lead-off guy and subsequently walked the next guy or given up another hit, so I’ve had my back up against the wall,” said Dyson, who allowed three ninth-inning runs Monday in a 5-5 game. “I have the ability to get out of that by using the sinker and executing the sinker and getting a ground ball. I haven’t been able to do that in those situation. That’s probably causing my failure.”

That failure sent the Rangers to their first season-opening home sweep since 1991 and put Dyson’s future as closer in the air, just as Tolleson’s future was clouded early in 2016 and Neftali Feliz’s in 2015.

Just not his immediate future.

“This is a guy that’s been really good for us,” Banister said. “I’m not going to jump off after two games.”

Jeff Wilson: 817-390-7760, @JeffWilson_FWST

Cleveland

000

211

005

9

9

1

Texas

200

030

100

6

7

1

Cleveland AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Santana dh

4

2

1

1

1

1

.417

Lindor ss

4

3

3

5

1

1

.300

Guyer lf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.200

Brantley ph-lf

2

0

0

0

0

1

.273

Encarnacion 1b

4

0

0

0

1

1

.167

Ramirez 2b

4

0

1

2

0

1

.200

Diaz 3b

4

2

2

0

0

1

.250

Jackson cf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.333

Naquin ph-cf

2

1

1

0

0

0

.333

Perez c

2

0

1

1

0

0

.500

Martinez pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Gomes c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Almonte rf

3

1

0

0

1

1

.167

Totals 34

9

9

9

4

7

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields dh

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Robinson ph-dh

2

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Choo rf

2

2

0

0

2

0

.200

Rua pr-lf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Mazara lf-rf

4

1

3

3

0

0

.583

Napoli 1b

4

0

0

0

0

3

.100

Odor 2b

4

0

1

0

0

2

.333

Gomez cf

2

0

0

0

2

1

.100

Lucroy c

4

1

1

0

0

1

.125

Gallo 3b

3

1

0

0

1

3

.200

Andrus ss

4

1

2

1

0

1

.400

Totals 31

6

7

4

5

12

E—Lindor (1), Hamels (1). LOB—Cleveland 4, Texas 4. HR—Lindor (1), off Hamels; Lindor (2), off Dyson; Mazara (1), off Salazar; Andrus (1), off Otero. RBIs—Santana (4), Lindor 5 (6), Ramirez 2 (4), Perez (1), Mazara 3 (3), Andrus (1). SB—Lindor (1). CS—Odor (1). SF—Perez. S—DeShields. Runners left in scoring position—Cleveland 3 (Santana, Ramirez, Diaz); Texas 2 (Mazara, Napoli). RISP—Cleveland 2 for 11; Texas 1 for 7. Runners moved up—Encarnacion, Jackson, Almonte, Choo. GIDP—Lucroy. DP—Cleveland 1 (Lindor, Ramirez, Encarnacion).

Cleveland

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Salazar

5 2/3

5

5

4

4

9

102

6.35

Otero

1

2

1

1

1

1

21

5.40

McAllister

1

0

0

0

0

0

12

0.00

Armstrong W, 1-0

 1/3

0

0

0

0

1

6

0.00

Shaw S, 1-1

1

0

0

0

0

1

13

0.00

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Hamels

6

5

4

3

1

4

91

4.50

Barnette H, 1

1

1

0

0

0

1

19

0.00

Bush H, 1

1

0

0

0

1

2

15

3.38

Dyson L, 0-2

 1/3

3

5

5

2

0

22

72.00

Jeffress

 2/3

0

0

0

0

0

6

9.00

Inherited runners-scored—Otero 1-0, McAllister 2-0. HBP—Hamels (Guyer). WP—Hamels, Barnette. Umpires—Home, Mike Muchlinski; First, Stu Scheurwater; Second, Mike Winters; Third, Mark Wegner. T—3:25. A—24,649 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Athletics

7:05 p.m. Friday, FSSW

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