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San Diego Padres dominate Texas Rangers bullpen and tie series

San Diego Padres dominate Texas Rangers bullpen and tie series

San Diego Padres dominate Texas Rangers bullpen and tie series

The Texas Rangers blew a two-run lead and a chance to secure their third straight win Wednesday at Globe Life Field against the San Diego Padres.

The cause of his downfall? A bullpen collapse.

The Rangers used four bullpen pitchers who eventually turned a two-run lead in the fourth inning into a comeback game. The Padres took a 6-4 lead in the seventh inning and never looked back.

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Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray allowed seven hits in four innings, but Manuel Machado’s two-run homer in the third inning gave the Padres their first lead of the game.

“Jon’s doing well,” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s getting where he wants to go and he’s making some mistakes in the middle of the plate … he’s been struggling a little bit with that. Like I said, we’re going to get him back to where he was. We all go through little struggles at times, but he battled through it.”

A Jonah Heim double in the bottom of the third inning gave the Rangers’ offense momentum, allowing Texas to keep a close game. The three-run inning helped them secure a 3-2 lead, their first advantage of the night.

As the Rangers held a two-run lead over the Padres entering the fifth inning, chaos broke out when Texas’ first bullpen pitcher of the night, Jose Leclerc, took the mound.

Leclerc was tagged for one run and one hit in 1.1 innings pitched leading off the fifth, cutting the score to 4-3. In the sixth inning, Jacob Latz took the mound and allowed one run in just 0.1 innings pitched. Finally, a two-run blast into the stands by the Padres’ David Peralta off reliever Dane Dunning sealed the deal for San Diego.

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“They’re a good hitting team,” Gray said. “You’ve got to go after them, challenge them in the zone, take them on in the zone. I think we did that for the most part tonight. … They definitely earned it. I don’t feel like we let them have it, but they definitely earned it.”

The Rangers rank 19th in the league in bullpen ERA (4.09) so far this season. However, the struggle of relief pitchers is nothing new for the Rangers.

Last season, the Rangers finished 24th in MLB with a 4.77 bullpen ERA in the regular season, and went just 30-for-63 (47.6 percent) in save opportunities.

The Rangers will have a chance to redeem themselves and break the tied series on Thursday at 1:35 p.m.

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