ARLINGTON, Texas -- The injury absence of closer Neftali Feliz has forced Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington to mix and match his bullpen at the end of tight games.
This time, it was 40-year-old left-hander Darren Oliver's turn.Oliver needed 22 pitches for his second save of the season, and the Rangers hung on for a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
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Oliver got the first two outs of the ninth, then gave up singles to Adam Lind and Juan Rivera.Edwin Encarnacion gave Oliver a battle, lasting nine pitches before he struck out swinging as Oliver nailed down his second save in three chances."Whatever role it is, I'm just trying to get outs," Oliver said. "Sometimes they're the last outs of the game, sometimes they're more stressful outs, but the job got done. It might just put more gray hair on my head, but that's what I wanted to have."At his advanced age, Oliver figured to have few closing opportunities this season. But he's eager to take the ball in all situations."You've just got to roll with it," Oliver said. "I never thought I'd be pitching when I'm 40 ... so anytime I get a chance to pitch I'm just going out there and having fun."Feliz will be out until at least May 6 while he recovers from right shoulder inflammation, so Washington will have to continue to go with a closer-by-committee concept.The Rangers got a scoreless eighth from another old-timer in the bullpen, 41-year-old Arthur Rhodes."They got it done," Washington said. "At that point we had the right people on the mound. Rhodes and Ollie, they were just out there making their pitches. ... It's all hands on deck right now. There's not time to be babying."Mitch Moreland led off the seventh inning for Texas with a tiebreaking home run against Octavio Dotel.Juan Rivera's solo homer with two outs in the top of the seventh off rookie Cody Eppley tied it at 6.Moreland sent an 0-1 pitch from Dotel (1-1) over the center-field fence for his third homer.Michael Young and Mike Napoli had two-run doubles in Texas' six-run third.Eppley (1-0) allowed one run and one hit in two innings for his first major league win.Texas starter Derek Holland gave up five runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings.Adam Lind, who homered twice in Toronto's 10-3 victory on Tuesday night, went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He didn't hit one out -- he had gone deep nine times in his past 12 road games against Texas.Toronto starter Jo-Jo Reyes was on the mound for all six runs in the third, although none were earned because of a one-out throwing error by third baseman Encarnacion.Reyes allowed six runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings. He hasn't won since June 13, 2008, having gone 23 starts since his last victory.In the third, Lind's sacrifice fly and Rivera's RBI single gave Toronto a 2-0 advantage.Reyes was on the verge of escaping the third, but Encarnacion's low throw on a one-out grounder by Yorvit Torrealba eluded first baseman Lind and opened the door for the six unearned runs."[Encarnacion] makes a backhand play on the line ... if that throw is a foot shorter, it's a long hop and it's an easier pick [for Lind]," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "But it was a tough ball to dig out of the dirt."After Reyes recorded the second out of the inning by fanning Moreland, he walked Ian Kinsler.Elvis Andrus followed with an RBI single, Young hit a two-run double, Nelson Cruz added an RBI single and Napoli's two-run double chased Reyes to give the Rangers a 6-2 edge.In the fourth, the Jays had a two-out rally of their own on Mike McCoy's RBI single and Jose Bautista's two-run double to cut the deficit to 6-5.
Toronto scored 22 runs in the first three games of the four-game series. The Jays had two runs or less in five of their previous eight. ... Before the game, the Rangers placed RHP Darren O'Day on the 60-day disabled list with a partially torn labrum in his left hip that will require surgery. Texas purchased the contract of RHP Ryan Tucker from Triple-A Round Rock. ... Encarnacion had missed the previous four games with a sore left wrist.