It took almost the entire month, but the Tampa Bay Rays finally showed MLB the Rangers are not infallible.
For the first time in seven regular season series in 2012, and the first time in 13 regular season series overall dating back to last season, the Rangers actually dropped a series. Sunday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays on Sunday gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 series win and bragging rights over the Rangers, the only AL team to say that in a long time.
The win actually came from an unlikely source: David Price. While Price has been considered the Rays ace for a few years now, he had never beaten the Rangers until Sunday night, going 0-6 in his career. Price also lost twice to Texas in the playoffs in 2010.
This time, the Rays pitching was up to the challenge while the Texas arms faltered. Matt Harrison had an absolute stinker on Friday night, tying a Rangers record by giving up 14 hits to the Rays, as they thumped Texas 8-4. Colby Lewis helped get the Rangers back in the win column with six strong innings Saturday as Texas won the middle game 7-2.
Sunday, Derek Holland had a bad second inning and pitched pretty well the rest of the time, but the 3-run second was all Price needed to get the win.
Here’s what impressed all weekend long- the defense. Both teams had some great defensive play. For the Rangers, there was David Murphy on consecutive fly balls in one inning on Saturday night, making a shoestring grab to his right on one tailing fly, then banging up against the left field wall on the next batter to rob certain extra bases. There was also a nifty double play when Elvis Andrus ranged far to his left to glove a grounder, then made a perfect shovel pass from his glove to Ian Kinsler, who threw on to first for the DP.
The Rays flashed the leather Sunday, all in one inning. In the bottom of the 6th, Adrian Beltre took Price deep, only to have BJ Upton make the catch right at the center field wall. Michael Young followed with one of those patented seeing eye singles. Except this time, Desmond Jennings came on and caught it on his shoetops for out number two. Nelson Cruz then hit a gapper toward right that Ben Zobrist managed to flag down for the third out. Three batters, all could have had hits, none did.
The Angels had already lost when Sunday’s game began, so the Rangers knew if they won, they’d be ten up already on Los Angeles. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
Weird stat of the day: Rangers manager Ron Washington turned 60 yesterday. The Rangers are now 0-6 on Wash’s birthday. Plus he got ejected as well. Hope the cake tasted good at least.
Josh Hamilton was pulled in the third inning Sunday with back pain. He says he wants to be in the line-up Monday night against the Blue Jays, but I tend to doubt it. A night game Sunday followed by a long flight from Texas to Toronto probably doesn’t do wonders for one’s back.
The good news: Texas still hasn’t lost consecutive games this season. Yu Darvish gets the ball Monday to try to keep that record intact.