Friday, June 29, 2012
Tanner Scheppers gets first save
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan, the Rangers closer, had pitched three consecutive days, and setup man Mike Adams had pitched in four of the last five games.
It left manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux with an issue. Who closes out Friday night's game against Oakland?
After the Rangers rallied from a two-run deficit to score four in the eighth inning, Washington turned to Tanner Scheppers, who despite allowing a ninth-inning home run, picked up his first career save in the 4-3 victory.
Scheppers said he was pumped to get an opportunity, with two veteran pitchers sitting out.
"I was just happy we were able to take the lead and get ahead," Scheppers said. "The guys have been working on having good (at-bats) all game long. I'm just real happy I got the opportunity to show what I had."
Scheppers, in his ninth appearance, became the first Rangers pitcher to record a save this early in his career since Yoshinori Tateyama earned a three-inning save, in the third game of his career last year.
Washington, meanwhile, had confidence in Scheppers to take care of things in the ninth inning. If things got hazy, Washington said Michael Kirkman would have entered the game. Kirkman was warming in the bullpen in the ninth.
Scheppers retired Brandon Inge on a ground out to short and got Derek Norris to pop out to the catcher. But Chris Carter homered to left, silencing the crowd as the A's cut the lead to 4-3.
"I had to make it interesting, I guess," Scheppers said. "I just got to attack back and it's still a one-run game and I got to go back and focus on the next guy."
Pinch hitter Seth Smith came on and bounced out to second to end the game.
"My first few pitches I was a little nervous out there," Scheppers said. "I just had to settle down and throw the ball down and trust my stuff."