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Bruce Bochy, Rangers once again left without an answer for the Travis d’Arnaud-led Braves

ATLANTA – His bullpen is starting to run out of steam as the Rangers’ grueling 17-day stretch slowly comes to an end. Manager Bruce Bochy had an inspired response to get a little more mileage than Saturday.

Now if only the Rangers could come up with an answer for approaching the threat known as Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

A night after hitting three home runs, d’Arnaud hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning off Austin Pruitt to clinch Atlanta’s 5-2 win over the Rangers. The Rangers did not eliminate d’Arnaud on Saturday. He walked twice and was hit once by a pitch for the home run. They’ve retired him once in eight at-bats in this series. Forget Ronald Acuña, Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna, the Rangers have no solutions for d’Arnaud.

Or, if they did, they unfortunately spent it more trying to keep the game close. With the Rangers down a run and starter Nathan Eovaldi weighed down by six pitches, Bochy turned to starter Jon Gray as a reliever in the sixth inning. Gray, who made his last start on Tuesday in Detroit, retired all five batters he faced to take the game to the eighth inning.

The Rangers decided to use Gray as an additional reliever instead of having him make a bullpen adjustment between starts. All he did was strike out the first four batters he faced — Acuña, Michael Harris II, Austin Riley and Olson — before sending Ozuna flying to center.

It brought the Rangers within one run into the eighth inning, but Bochy opted not to use any of his high-leverage relievers in the late inning while trailing. Both David Robertson and Kirby Yates have worked hard in this seventeen-game spell. Pruitt allowed a leadoff single to Orlando Arcia, then left a first-pitch slider over the heart of the plate to d’Arnaud.

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