ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers reliever Mark Lowe did not want to walk the No. 9 hitter to lead off the 10th inning of a tie game Tuesday. So on a 3-2 pitch, he went with his fastball.
"I pulled it over the plate," Lowe said.
Oakland catcher George Kottaras pulled it into the Home Run Porch in right field for the eventual winning home run in a 3-2 A's victory. It pulled Oakland within four games of the Rangers in the AL West and kept Texas' magic number for clinching the division at five.
Manager Ron Washington went with Lowe because he didn't want to pitch Tanner Scheppers, coming back from a knee injury, unless he had to. And he decided to back off closer Joe Nathan, who warmed up in case Texas got the lead in the eighth. Nathan said he felt fine, but Washington wanted to give him a break because of his workload of late.
When Lowe was asked to describe his September, which has included five appearances and seven runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings, he chose just one word: "frustrating."
He hasn't had much regular time in the bullpen and has found it difficult to stay sharp when he's called upon. Tuesday was his first appearance in a week.
"It's really hard to sit out there for a long time and not pitch and get put in there and be on top of your game," Lowe said. "I think anybody in this clubhouse will tell you the same thing. There are the best players in the world in this league right now and a lot of those guys are playing every day. It's not an excuse, but it makes it harder to be consistent when you're not in there consistently."
Lowe is one of the arms vying for a spot in the postseason bullpen. But with plenty of folks to choose from, Lowe could end up one of the odd men out. He just hopes to get some more chances in the final eight games to get back on track.