ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays appeared destined for extra innings when Michael Young lifted a fly ball to right field with two outs in the ninth on Saturday night.
The ball kept carrying, though, and Corey Patterson, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, struggled to get a good read on the play. Instead of running straight back, Patterson tried to backpedal and got himself twisted around.
That resulted in the ball dropping just shy of the wall, which allowed pinch-runner Craig Gentry to score the winning run as the Blue Jays lost a ninth-inning lead and dropped a heartbreaker, 5-4, to the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington.
"He got turned around twice," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "The way this wind plays in here, when it's blowing in from right field there's almost a boomerang effect and it carries the ball to right field.
"It looked like a routine fly ball that ended up just drifting, and once he got turned around the first time you knew right then he was going to be in trouble."
Young came to the plate with the winning run on third base. He sent a 1-2 pitch into the air for what appeared to be a makeable catch.
Patterson was asked if he thought it was a makeable play, but the veteran outfielder said "no" he did not think it was a ball that could be caught.
"He just hit it over my head ... one hopped the wall, that's what happened," said Patterson, who was making his ninth appearance in right field this year.
The fateful ninth inning started with left-hander Marc Rzepczynski being brought in to protect a 4-3 lead. Rzepczynski walked pinch-hitter Mike Napoli to lead off the inning and then wasn't able to come up with a sacrifice bunt by Mitch Moreland.
Rzepczynski fielded the bunt but had the ball slip out of his hand. He was able to recover, but his throw pulled Adam Lind off first base.
Right-hander Jon Rauch entered the game and Ian Kinsler laid down another sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. The small ball continued as Elvis Andrus executed a suicide squeeze to score Napoli from third base with the tying run.
That set the table for Young, who delivered the game-winning hit.
"I'm not really sure, but I think he shortened up with two strikes," Young said when asked if he thought Patterson was playing shallow. "I think with two strikes he was looking to take away a single.
"Right when I hit it, I knew it was going to be up against the wall. So, I knew it was going to be tough for him. When I hit it, I thought it was over his head, so I'll take it."
The loss is another tough blow to a Blue Jays bullpen that has fallen under tough times. Toronto was charged with its 17th blown save of the season, which is tied with the Angels for most in the American League.
The Blue Jays' relief corps have been unable to save seven of their past nine opportunities dating back to July 1, and the club suffered its sixth loss of the year when leading after eight innings.
Following the game, Rzepczynski wasn't about to make any excuses. He declined to blame his error on the hot and sweaty conditions in Arlington, and took full responsibility for the subpar outing.
"My hand was perfectly dry," Rzepczynski said. "I tried to rush in to it, and when I rushed to it, I threw it off [line].
"That's definitely been my job all year, is going out and getting those guys -- lefty or righty. [Farrell] has put faith in me to go get those guys out. Today, I didn't do it."
Toronto appeared to have the game in hand following a three-run sixth inning in which the club hit for the cycle.
J.P. Arencibia led off the frame with a home run to left field for his third home run in two games and 15th of the season.
Yunel Escobar followed with a double down the third-base line. He came around to score on Eric Thames' third triple of the season. The 24-year-old Thames now has 19 RBIs in just 37 games this season and appears to have found a comfortable home as the club's No. 2 hitter.
Slugger Jose Bautista delivered with a single to right field to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead. Bautista has yet to homer since returning from a twisted right ankle on July 19, but he has recorded two doubles and four RBIs during a span of five games.
For a while it looked like that would be enough offense for the Blue Jays to win for the third time in four games.
Right-hander Carlos Villanueva was in line for a victory after allowing three runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but it was not meant to be following the late-inning collapse.
The final frame took a turn for the worse following the leadoff walk to Napoli.
"We had the matchups," Farrell said. "[Rzepczynski] has been so good against the left-handed hitters, and even knowing that they were going to pinch-hit Napoli in that situation, Rzepczynski has handled him.
"He gets ahead 0-2 in the count and then tried to be a little bit too fine rather than trusting his stuff. The sac bunt, that's a play that should be made, and then it just opens the door for what we saw take place."