ARLINGTON -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington has a saying about washing tough losses down the drain. And the Rangers certainly need a cleansing after Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers' depleted bullpen, as well as their defense, unraveled in the ninth inning, as the Toronto Blue Jays pulled away for a 5-2 victory to take three out of four in the series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
With the game tied 2-2 going into the ninth, the Rangers brought in veteran left-hander Darren Oliver, who picked up a save on Wednesday. But Oliver gave up consecutive, one-out singles to John McDonald and Yunel Escobar, and Corey Patterson scored the go-ahead run with a bunt down the first-base line.
"It was a good bunt," Oliver said. "I got to it, but what do you do? It was in no man's land."
Patterson simply wanted to score a run by putting the bunt in the right location.
"I happened to end up getting a hit out of it, too," Patterson said. "The main objective was to score the run and go ahead."
From there, things only got worse for the Rangers (15-10).
After a walk and a strikeout, Blue Jays designated hitter Juan Rivera hit a sharp grounder to third, but Adrian Beltre couldn't field it cleanly. That error allowed Escobar to score. Oliver caught Bautista in a rundown on the same play, but an errant throw to second ended up in center field, allowing Patterson to score.
"They get two not-so-well hit balls to fall, and then the surest hands we've got [Beltre] boots a ball," Washington said. "Then we had an opportunity to get out of the inning and we throw the ball away. It happens."
The loss spoiled another solid start by Alexi Ogando, who allowed two runs over six innings with a career-high seven strikeouts. His only blemish came in the first inning.
After retiring the first two batters, Ogando walked Jose Bautista and then served up a 2-0 changeup that Adam Lind deposited into the upper deck in right field to give Toronto an early 2-0 lead.
But that was all the Blue Jays (12-13) could get against Ogando. He went on to retire eight straight before issuing a one-out walk to Rivera in the fourth. Travis Snider singled later in the inning, but Ogando ended that threat with a groundout from Jose Molina.
"There was only one pitch that was off, and that was the one to Lind," Ogando said. "Right now, I have to keep going out and doing my job."
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow, who started the game with a 5.06 ERA, was just as effective as Ogando.
The Rangers managed two runs off Morrow, who went six innings with six strikeouts. Beltre had an RBI single in the first, and Michael Young had a sacrifice fly in the third to tie the game at 2-2.
Outside of those two runs, it was a frustrating day at the plate for the Rangers, who had scoring opportunities in the fifth and eighth innings. In the fifth, Ian Kinsler led off with a double, but was picked off at second by Molina. In the eighth, the Rangers got runners to second and third with two outs, but couldn't capitalize.
"We're struggling right now to build innings," Kinsler said. "We're a way better offensive team than we're showing, and we need to get better. ... We're thin right now in the bullpen, and we need to get some runs early and help our pitchers."
Until the ninth, Texas' rag-tag bullpen held up.
In the seventh, right-hander Cody Eppley retired two of the three batters he faced, and Pedro Strop got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Lind to end a 10-pitch at-bat.
Strop threw a perfect eighth, but Oliver and the Rangers couldn't stay in it after that.
"You always want your offense to pick it up," Washington said. "But you've got to play the type of game that's presented to you. And today was that type of game. Our bullpen is what it is, and we're not going to cry about it. We're just going to keep going out there battling and doing whatever it takes.
"We'll wash this one down the drain, and move on."
Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.