No comeback magic as Rangers fall
Feldman, Wright spot Jays four runs in critical sixth inning
ARLINGTON -- Jamey Wright stood at his locker after the game and didn't mince words."I'm [angry]," he said quietly but firmly. "[Scott] Feldman goes out there and pitches his tail off. He outduels [A.J.] Burnett and I can't get out of that inning. It's frustrating to see him pitch that well and then lose the game. It's my fault that we lost that game." Wright was referring to the sixth inning, which proved to be the pivotal moment in the game. That's when the Blue Jays, down 3-2, scored four runs off of Feldman and Wright, then went on to defeat the Rangers, 6-4, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night. A pair of two-run doubles by Rod Barajas and Scott Rolen off Wright allowed the Blue Jays to earn a split in the first two games of the three-game series, and the Rangers are now six games behind the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card standings. "I felt good about Jamey coming in and getting us out of that inning," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes you do things and they work out, sometimes you do things and they don't. Tonight, it just didn't work out." Wright's appearance on Saturday was his 53rd of the season, tying him for the most in the American League, and he is one of four relievers to have thrown at least 60 innings. He has been one of the Rangers' primary weapons in the sixth and seven innings, but his workload may be catching up to him in the hot summer months. Wright has a 9.00 ERA since the beginning of July and has allowed at least one run in seven of his last nine relief appearances. But he had three days off before Saturday and told Washington before the game that he felt fine. "My arm is fine," Wright said. "I feel healthy, I feel great. Warming up in the bullpen before the game, I felt great." The one thing he has had trouble doing is coming into the game in the middle of an inning and shutting down a rally. That's Frank Francisco's specialty, but Wright, in his first full year as a reliever, has not quite mastered that part of relief work. Wright went into Saturday's game having allowed 38.7 percent of inherited runners to score, eighth-highest in the American League. Wright admitted that's been a concern for him. "The last month or so, I've been coming in with guys on base and trying to do too much," Wright said. "My sinker is flat and my cutter is up and away or over the plate instead of down and in. I'm jumping at the plate too quick instead of being nice and calm and making good pitches." That was the problem on Saturday night. Wright couldn't shut down the big inning in the sixth. Feldman allowed just two hits in five innings before Marco Scutaro opened the inning with a line-drive single to center. Alex Rios followed with a single to right, but Josh Hamilton, starting in that spot for the 31st time, gunned down Scutaro trying to go from first to third. The throw was spectacular but offered only a temporary reprieve for the Rangers. Rios went to second on the play, and Feldman walked Lyle Overbay before Washington called on Wright. "I felt fine," said Feldman, who threw 93 pitches. "I felt like I could keep going, but they wanted to make a change. I guess I need to keep my pitch count down more, but I never want to come out of a game. Nobody wants to come out." Wright did get Adam Lind on a little grounder just to the right of the plate, moving runners to second and third. Then Washington had Wright walk Matt Stairs, a left-handed hitter, to set up righty vs. righty against Rod Barajas with the bases loaded. Wright missed with two sinkers and then had to throw a strike. When he did, Barajas belted it down the left-field line for a two-run double to give the Blue Jays the lead. Rolen then followed with a double into the right-center gap to give the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. On this night, a three-run lead proved insurmountable for the Rangers, although one play did prove interesting. Michael Young led off the bottom of the sixth with a long fly ball into the right-field corner. Blue Jays right-fielder Brad Wilkerson went to the wall in the corner, jumped up and seemed to make a terrific backhanded catch. However, it appeared that the ball caromed off the top of the fence before Wilkerson snagged it in his glove. "He trapped it," Young said. "But that's a tough call for the umpire to make. That's why you don't play the game in slow motion."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.