Rangers lose to Jays in extra innings
Texas fights back, but effort vs. Toronto falls short
TORONTO -- The nail-biting affair that was Wednesday's game at Rogers Centre between the Rangers and Blue Jays had to end one way or another. Just nobody thought it would end in the way it did.
The Rangers tied the game in the ninth inning by scoring three runs, only to suffer a tough 8-7 loss to the Jays in 11 innings.
The weirdest part, though, was that the losing pitcher for Texas arrived at the ballpark late. Just how late?
The 10th inning.
Reliever Darren O'Day was claimed off waivers from the Mets on Wednesday afternoon and did not get off the plane at the Toronto airport until about the eighth inning. After corresponding with team's travel secretary, he was told to show up at the game because he might be needed.
Sure enough, as Texas' bullpen was running out of gas, O'Day entered the game in the bottom of the 11th inning, with runners on first and second base in a tie game. The only batter O'Day faced, Kevin Millar, then proceeded to line a pitch into the left-center-field gap, handing the Jays a walk-off victory.
"I'll remember the day, not the outing," O'Day said following the game. "I was on the plane for most of the game. I saw it was a scrappy effort and a good comeback in the middle of the ninth. I wish we could have taken it."
The Rangers entered the ninth inning trailing, 7-4, when Jays closer B.J. Ryan hit Chris Davis to lead off the inning. Davis came around to score on a fielder's choice off the bat of Ian Kinsler. Later in the frame, pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton managed to cash in Kinsler with a groundout that made the score 7-6. The next batter, Michael Young, tied the game when he lifted a Ryan offering into left-center field for a solo home run.
"We fought our butts to get back in it and they pulled it off," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
The Jays had built up an early lead off of catcher Rod Barajas' two home runs. Rangers starter Matt Harrison allowed a two-run home run to Barajas, who was a Ranger from 2004-06, in the fourth inning that broke a tie game and gave the Jays a 4-2 lead. Barajas had done the same in the second inning, cashing in Millar to open the night's scoring with another two-run homer.
"Things just aren't going my way right now," Harrison said. "It was just a rough game. Hopefully, I can turn things around."
Harrison earned a no-decision, allowing five runs on nine hits over four innings. The left-hander walked two, struck out one and exhausted 85 pitches in the outing. Harrison is now winless in three starts this season and has allowed a total of 26 hits and 15 runs across 14 2/3 innings.
Washington said that Harrison's inability to close out innings has been his downfall.
"He always gets two outs," said Washington. "For some reason, we've got to figure out a way to get him an out pitch. Too much damage is done to him with two outs. Once we can figure out what we can get him to use with confidence, once he gets two outs, then I think he'll be fine.
"He battles out there; it's just that you have got to start getting the third out."
If there was a benefit of Harrison's poor start, it was that it did give Washington a chance to bring reliever Derek Holland into a game for his Major League debut. The 22-year-old lefty has been with the club since Saturday, but Washington has been searching for the right time to bring him into a ballgame.
Wednesday provided a low-pressure opportunity, as Holland entered the game during the sixth inning with the Rangers trailing, 6-3. Holland went on to toss 2 1/3 scoreless frames, allowing just three hits.
"Once the bullpen phone rang, huh, I had butterflies and everything," Holland said. "I had the jitters, but I think I was more nervous in the bullpen than compared to being out on the mound. That first pitch is all it took.
"Once that first pitch was out, I got a little more relaxed. That's all it took."
Following the game, Washington said he was proud of his team's effort.
"We've got nothing to be ashamed of," said Washington. "We played hard tonight. We didn't lose it. They beat us."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.