On a night when the remarkably reliable Colby Lewis didn’t have his best stuff, the offense regained its spark from earlier this month to bail him out.
And then that Texas Rangers bullpen struck again. For the 10th time in past 12 games the Rangers’ bullpen was unable to put up zeros.
Saturday’s 10-8 loss to the Cleveland Indians was especially debilitating in front of an announced crowd of 31,045 at Globe Life Park.
Twice the the Rangers’ bullpen failed to hold leads, including closer Neftali Feliz, who came into the ninth with an 8-7 lead. He was quickly in trouble after Lonnie Chisenhall led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch in the dirt.
He scored to tie the game 8-8 when the Rangers failed to convert a slow hopper into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Second baseman Tommy Field’s throw to first was wild, although the runner likely would have beaten even an accurate throw.
Instead, Feliz faced Jason Kipnis, who belted a two-run homer to right-center field for the game-winner.
The Rangers led 7-6 in the seventh when the Indians tied it against Keone Kela with three singles, including Michael Bourn’s game-tying single to right. Shawn Tolleson replaced Kela and got a strikeout to end the inning.
He pitched a scoreless eighth, too, and the Rangers’ (15-22) offense rallied again, as Robinson Chirinos’ solo homer in the eighth gave Texas an 8-7 lead.
The Indians (14-21) roughed up Lewis early with a three-run, four-hit first inning. Lewis, who has been so stable through his first seven starts, allowed a season high six runs (five earned, also a season-high) on seven hits and three walks in five innings. It’s only the second time Lewis has lasted just five innings this season.
In a recent stretch everything seemed to be clicking for the Rangers, when they won six of eight games behind a surging offense and reliable rotation. Since that eight-day stretch, however, the Rangers have lost four of their past five.
The bullpen has been especially sketchy lately. They’ve allowed 14 runs in their past 18 innings over the past six games. That includes four runs on seven hits Saturday night.
It was Feliz’s third blown save.
Left-handed reliever Alex Claudio, who has been a part of the recent bullpen struggles, pitched a perfect sixth inning before Kela took over the seventh.
Shin-Soo Choo stayed hot, going 3 for 5 with a triple, homer and bunt single.
Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus had two hits each and Chirinos was 3 for 4, including the go-ahead homer in the eighth.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760