Friday, September 7, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays 3, Texas Rangers 1 (11 innings)
Rangers blow tight pitching duel in the eleventh inning.
The Texas Rangers were done in by their bullpen Friday night in Tampa Bay, losing 3-1 in eleven innings to the Rays. The loss dropped Texas to 82-56, five games ahead of the Oakland A's for first place in the AL West. Tampa Bay improved to 76-62, two games behind the New York Yankees for first in the AL East.
With the score tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eleventh, Rangers reliever Mark Lowe issued a leadoff walk to B.J. Upton, then served up a two-run walk-off home run to Ben Zobrist for the loss. It was Zobrist's 16th home run of the season. Lowe did not record an out and fell to 0-1 on the year.
The disappointing ending wasted an excellent start from Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, who allowed just one run one two hits over eight stellar innings. Holland, who walked two while striking out eleven, gave up just Evan Longoria's solo home run in the fourth.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson was matched Holland pitch-for-pitch, giving up one run over six innings. Michael Young's fifth-inning home run was the only time Hellickson blinked.
The real difference in the game was the Rays bullpen, which allowed just one hit and no walks while striking out eight over the final five shutout innings. Wade Davis, who pitched the final two innings, was credited with the win and improved to 3-0 on the season.