video thumbnail

KC@TEX: Murphy belts a two-run shot to center field

ARLINGTON -- If Rangers closer Neftali Feliz is using his fastball too much, catcher Yorvit Torrealba said there is only one person to blame.

"You can blame it on the catcher," Torrealba said.

Manager Ron Washington isn't ready to blame anybody for anything, but one too many fastballs by Feliz may have cost the Rangers on Friday. Feliz gave up a game-tying home run in the ninth inning to Alex Gordon and the Royals went on to beat the Rangers, 12-7, in 14 innings at Rangers Ballpark.

David Bush, the Rangers' eighth pitcher on the night, took the loss by giving up three home runs in the 14th. Melky Cabrera and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back home runs with one out and Brayan Pena hit a three-run homer with two out.

"I warmed up fine," Bush said. "It all happened pretty quickly ... the first two on back-to-back pitches. I had plenty of time to get loose by the end. Part of being a reliever is you need to be able to get up and down and go as the game dictates."

But the big home run was hit by Gordon with one out in the ninth, handing Feliz his third blown save over his past five outings. All three blown saves have come against the Royals.

"Gordon just got him," Washington said. "That pitch hit 99 miles per hour. He earned it."

But it was the 10th straight fastball that Feliz threw after entering the game, including the fifth straight to Gordon.

"Up until that pitch, his fastball was doing pretty good," Washington said. "Gordon just caught one."

Torrealba admitted that when Feliz has been on the mound lately, he has relied heavily on his fastball ... possibly too much.

"Probably ... but that's me too," Torrealba said.

Torrealba said he wants Feliz to come in throwing strikes with his fastball. Then they can go to the other pitches as well, especially his slider.

"But I don't want to get behind in the count with the off-speed stuff," Torrealba said. "I call a lot of fastballs, but he needs to pound the strike zone more. He's got to throw the other pitches, but he's got a magic fastball. You want to see him throw his best pitch."

Feliz threw 15 pitches in the ninth. The first 14 were fastballs. He got Hosmer on a fly ball to center on a slider to end the inning. Between innings, pitching coach Mike Maddux told Feliz to use his slider more. Feliz retired the side in the order in the 10th on 11 pitches and four were sliders. Two of the three outs in the inning came on sliders, including a strikeout of Jeff Francoeur.

"If [Gordon] doesn't catch that fastball, he pops it up and everything is cool," Washington said. "That's the way it goes."

This game also might have been different if the Rangers' offense hadn't disappeared completely in the second inning. The Rangers scored seven runs with their first four outs of the game and failed to score again over 38 outs and 12 2/3 innings the rest of the night.

"We got off to a good start and couldn't keep it going," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "That was a little disappointing, but that was the game."

Royals starter Nate Adcock was gone in the third inning, but six relievers combined to hold the Rangers scoreless in four hits and four walks, while striking out nine over 11 1/3 innings. The Rangers were hitless in their last eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"You never like giving credit to the opposing pitching staff, but they obviously did something right," outfielder David Murphy said. "We had it going and they shut us down after their starter was gone."

Nelson Cruz had the roughest night, going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts. He was the third out in five different innings and the only Rangers starter not to get a hit. But he almost won the game for the Rangers in the 11th. He batted with Adrian Beltre on first and two out in the 11th and, on a full-count pitch, launched a drive to deep left-center.

"I thought that was the game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I thought that ball was gone. But the wind was funny tonight."

Gordon, the Royals' left-fielder, ran the ball down deep in the gap just in front of the visiting bullpen and the game continued.

"I thought that would have been off the wall," Washington said. "I didn't think it was gone, but I thought it would have been off the wall."

Rangers starter Colby Lewis also had a strange night. He allowed six runs in the first two innings and then turned it around completely. He retired 13 of 14 batters, including the last 10 he faced, and left with a 7-6 lead after six innings.

"For two or three innings he got the ball up and couldn't command his fastball," Washington said. "I didn't think he could get through six, but he did. Some days you have to fight to get what you want and he fought ... and had the lead when he left the game."

The Rangers just couldn't keep the lead.

MLB.com Comments