Rangers edge Rays to take control of seriesOct 4, 2011 - 2:08 AM
Down 1-0 in the seventh, Mike Napoli sparked a four-run inning with a two-run homer. Later in the frame, Josh Hamilton knocked in two runs with a single to increase Texas' lead.
The Rangers evened this best-of-five set at a game apiece on Saturday, as Napoli's two-run base hit highlighted a five-run fourth inning, and Texas capitalized on some pitching mistakes from James Shields to earn an 8-6 victory.
"I think it has a lot to do with the atmosphere that he's in," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Napoli. "It has a lot to do with the work ethic that he brings. He's a dirt bag. He is a baseball player. He really is. We always knew he had the power, we always knew he had the on-base percentage, and this year he put it together as far as average-wise go."
Colby Lewis (1-0), who went 14-10 this season with a 4.40 ERA, only gave up a solo homer to Desmond Jennings over six innings. He struck out six and walked two in his first career postseason road outing.
Jennings had two solo homers for the Rays, who are trying to become the first AL or NL Wild Card team to reach the World Series since the 2006 Tigers lost to the Cardinals.
David Price (0-1), who went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA this season, allowed three runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.
In 2010, Price went 0-2 in the ALDS versus Texas, losing both starts at home to Cliff Lee in Game 1 and Game 5.
"Obviously Colby was a little more dominating, I thought, than David," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "David was working his way through. Some balls were hit, we made some plays. We were in the right spots. So I think Lewis was more dominating than Price to that point, obviously only gave up one hit, and that was the homer."
Game 4 of this best-of-five series is set for Tuesday at 2:07 p.m. (et). Matt Harrison is slated to pitch for Texas and Jeremy Hellickson for the Rays.
Lewis retired the first nine batters he faced in order. Jennings changed that when he led off the fourth with a homer over the wall in left.
Price had retired eight straight batters before running into some trouble in the sixth. Craig Gentry led off the frame with a walk. Two batters later, Elvis Andrus reached base on an infield single. The runners moved up a base on Hamilton's groundout, but Price got Michael Young to ground out to keep the Rays in front.
Texas was able to get to Price in the seventh. Adrian Beltre singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Napoli then crushed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center field. Two outs later, Gentry kept the inning alive with a single.
Brandon Gomes took over on the mound for Price. Gentry stole second before Ian Kinsler and Andrus walked to load the bases. J.P. Howell was called in from the bullpen and was greeted by Hamilton's two-run single to right, which made it 4-1.
The Rays also loaded the bases in the home half of the inning. Darren Oliver gave up singles to Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist and Casey Kotchman to load the bases with one out. Alexi Ogando came into the game to face pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez, who swung at the first pitch. The roof-high foul ball was dropped by Beltre and Rodriguez ended up with an RBI groundout. Pinch-hitter Sam Fuld grounded out to keep it 4-2.
Jennings homered off Mike Adams in the eighth to make it a one-run contest. Tampa Bay put runners on second and third later in the inning, but Zobrist struck out swinging to end the inning.
Neftali Feliz pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the save.
The Rays have lost their last four postseason games at Tropicana Field...Lewis was a big part of the Rangers' AL pennant last season, as he went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four postseason starts...The Rays went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.
- TEXAS: 4
TAMPA BAY: 3
Oct 3 9:01 PM
- B.J. Upton walked. Runner on first with none out and Evan Longoria due up.
Rangers 4, Rays 3 Bot 8, 0 OutsOct 3 8:09 PM
- Pinch-Hitter Sean Rodriguez grounded out first to pitcher scored Johnny Damon. On the play, Casey Kotchman advances to second and Ben Zobrist advances to third. Runners on second and third and with two outs and Reid Brignac due up.
Rangers 4, Rays 2 Bot 7, 2 OutsOct 3 7:47 PM
- Josh Hamilton singled to right scored Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler. On the play, Elvis Andrus advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Michael Young due up.
Rangers 4, Rays 1 Top 7, 2 OutsOct 3 7:26 PM
- Mike Napoli none-out, two-run Home Run (1) to left center scored Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz due up.
Rangers 2, Rays 1 Top 7, 0 OutsOct 3 7:08 PM
- Desmond Jennings lead-off Home Run (1) to left. B.J. Upton due up.
Rangers 0, Rays 1 Bot 4, 0 OutsOct 3 6:05 PM
- TEXAS: 0
TAMPA BAY: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Oct 3 5:08 PM
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