A second blown save this season and a third lousy ninth inning for Sam Dyson could have the Texas Rangers on the verge of making a change at the back end of their bullpen.
Dyson flopped again Tuesday night, allowing three runs in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels won it in the 10th on a Carlos Perez suicide squeeze that completed and sent the Rangers to a 6-5 loss.
The Rangers led 5-0 after six innings behind a three-run homer by Jonathan Lucroy and a solo shot by Elvis Andrus to start a four-run third. Cole Hamels allowed only one run in seven innings despite having little feel for his pitches.
But for eight innings the Rangers had done enough to win the first game on their nine-game, three-city West Coast road trip. Dyson, though, couldn’t close it out, and the Rangers have a decision to make.
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“We’ve been evaluating it from Day 1,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We’ll consider all our options. We can’t continue to lose baseball games in this manner when we have the lead.”
The Rangers stood by Dyson after he took the loss on Opening Day by allowing three ninth-inning runs and again two games later by allowing five runs after opening the ninth with a 6-4 lead.
Dyson’s power sinker has been his downfall as many of them are sliding rather than dropping. He said that it’s easy to see on video and easy to fix, but he can’t feel when he’s not staying on top of the ball.
He narrowly missed escaping at Angel Stadium. Up 5-2, he allowed a leadoff homer to Danny Espinosa and then a one-out double to Yunel Escobar. After getting Kole Calhoun to fly to center field, Dyson jumped ahead 0-2 on Mike Trout and made consecutive pitches that barely missed off the outside corner.
The 2-2 pitch caught too much plate, and Trout delivered it to the right-field corner for an RBI single.
“I thought it was a strike,” Dyson said of the 1-2 pitch. “I made a little bit better of a pitch 2-2 and it gets hit for a double down the right-field line. It just goes back to me not working over the baseball and not getting the ball to sink. It’s a [lousy] feeling.”
Albert Pujols, who has 592 career home runs and was a three-time MVP in the National League, was next with first base open. Banister, though, said that he didn’t intentionally walk Pujols to get to Andrelton Simmons, who has 36 career home runs, because he didn’t want to put the potential winning run on first base.
Pujols delivered a line single to left field that easily scored Trout to tie the game at 5-5. Simmons ending the inning by popping to center field.
“It’s a fair question,” Banister said. “After the Espinosa home run, with every base runner you’re looking at the winning run coming to the plate for every next runner you put on. I thought Sam made quality pitches in the at-bat to Trout and quality pitches early to Pujols and wasn’t able to finish them off.”
The Angels’ comeback started when Jefry Marte homered off Hamels to start the seventh and continued against Tony Barnette in the eighth when Cameron Maybin dropped a two-out bloop double into right field to score Trout.
Jeremy Jeffress walked Maybin to start the 10th and allowed a one-out single to Espinosa. Perez was next, and he dropped a bunt that hugged the infield grass along the first-base line as Maybin raced home.
Banister said that Matt Bush wasn’t available after throwing 29 pitches Sunday ahead of a Monday off day. Bush, though, would be a candidate to replace Dyson at closer.
The Rangers have a decision to make.
“It’s tough,” Dyson said. “I’ve gotten my ass handed to me pretty much every time I’ve gone out there. I think it’s just attacking hitters and making better pitches and doing whatever you can to block it out.”