Strop outing brightens bullpen outlook

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pedro Strop pitched his way into a jam.

But the Rangers reliever also pitched his way out.

When looking for bright spots in Texas’ 5-2 loss to Toronto Thursday, Strop’s strikeout of Toronto cleanup hitter Adam Lind has to be high on the list.

Lind batted with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh inning and the score tied, 2-2. He had already belted a 2-run homer, his fourth of the season, in the first inning.

On the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Strop induced Lind to swing over a pitch breaking low out of the strike zone.

“I kept coming at him and I kept my mind strong,’’ Strop said.

Considering the injury situation with Rangers right-handed relief corps, Strop could become very important to Texas’ hopes of buying time while the injured mend.

“I know they need me now,’’ Strop said. “I’m working hard to get better. I think I can help the team.’’

Strop didn't allow a hit, walked one and hit a batter in recording four outs.

Manager Ron Washington was pleased that Strop built on his seventh inning escape with an easy eighth inning, retiring the side in order.

Strop said the break between innings gave him time to think and settle down.

*Losing pitcher Darren Oliver, the Rangers’ fourth of the day, was charged with three runs in the ninth inning. One was earned.

“They put the ball in play and they beat us today,’’ said Oliver, who recorded his second save of the season on Wednesday.

Manager Ron Washington alluded to two “not so well-hit fly balls that fell for hits’’ by John McDonald and Mike McCoy with one out in the ninth.

The go-ahead run scored on a bunt single by Corey Patterson.

“That was a good bunt,’’ said Oliver. “C.D. [first baseman Chris Davis] had to come for it, too. I got to it, but I had nowhere to go with the ball.’’

Third baseman Adrian Beltre botched a grounder to allow a second run and another scored on Oliver’s errant throw into center field.

“Today was that kind of game,’’ Washington said. “We had opportunities in the seventh and eighth and it came back and got us.’’

*In other news, a club official reported left hip surgery on right-handed reliever Darren O’Day went well. Dr. Tom Byrd of Nashville, Tenn., reported he did a cleanup of the labrum and that a rehab can begin immediately.