Rapid Reaction: Rays 4, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers missed a first-inning scoring chance against Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields.

Shields made sure scoring opportunities were rare after that.

The 29-year-old right-hander silenced the Texas bats on four hits in the Rays’ 4-1 victory in front of 28,034 Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark.

Shields pitched eight scoreless innings and turned it over to Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth after throwing 110 pitches, 68 for strikes.

Shields at one point retired 15 Rangers in order, starting with Mike Napoli’s double-play grounder that ended a bases-loaded scoring threat in the first. Texas didn’t have another base runner until Elvis Andrus’ two-out triple in the sixth. Shields had the Rangers swinging at pitches in the dirt all evening.

Texas' lead in the AL West is three games pending the Angels outcome in Seattle.

* Based on the way Alexi Ogando worked the first four batters he faced, signs pointed to a successful start. He struck out three of the first four he faced. Johnny Damon didn’t strike out, but his weakly-hit ground ball failed to travel as far as his bat, which sailed out of his hands beyond first base.

Ogando’s fastball on strike three to Evan Longoria in the first hit 98 mph on the radar gun.

But things went south in a hurry for Ogando.

A one-out single to Casey Kotchman through the box forced Ogando to pitch from the stretch. That proved an issue. Ogando hit B.J. Upton with an 0-2 pitch, walked Matt Joyce and allowed an RBI single to John Jason on yet another 0-2 pitch.

Desmond Jennings’ two-out walk forced in another run for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead.

Ogando went to the mound in the third with a short leash. He was gone after a Joyce RBI single, the third Rays hit of the inning. Ogando was charged with three runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

* Texas got its run with two out in the ninth off Farnsworth on an RBI single by David Murphy, following hits by Michael Young and Mike Napoli. Yorvit Torrealba struck out to end it.

* Mark Hamburger made his major league debut in the ninth inning and retired the Rays in order. Hamburger, a right-hander, was a combined 8-4 with a 3.39 ERA for Frisco and Round Rock. Ron Washington gave Hamburger an emphatic high-five on his return to the dugout.

* Josh Hamilton forced Shields to do a pirouette to his left to avoid his line-drive single through the box in the first inning. The base hit came back at Shields a lot faster than the 90 mph fastball in the other direction. The Rangers didn’t touch Shields for another hit until Andrus‘ two-out triple in the sixth.

* Endy Chavez retreated deep to center field to run down a drive off the bat of B.J. Upton in the third inning with two Rays aboard.

* Young’s days as a regular at third base may be numbered with Adrian Beltre set to return Thursday. But Young made a pair of nice defensive plays Wednesday. He fielded a one-hop smash to his left off the bat of Longoria with a runner in scoring position to end the Rays’ fourth inning. In the fifth, Young went to his right to retire Ben Zobrist on a hard-hit grounder near the line.

* Yoshinori Tateyama bounced back from a bad outing Friday (four runs on four hits vs. the Angels) with a solid 1 1/3-inning relief effort. Tateyama entered with Rays at first and third and two out in the third and retired John Jaso on an infield pop. He worked a scoreless fourth, as well.

* Murphy showed no fear going to the wall to haul down Ben Zobrist’s drive to end the seventh inning.

* Reliever Koji Uehara was touched up for a home run by Johnny Damon in the seventh inning. He has allowed runs in four of his last five appearances, permitting 10 hits and six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings over that span. Uehara came into the game with an ERA of 5.59 since being acquired from Baltimore on July 30.

* Rays third baseman Evan Longoria almost pulled a Pete Rose play in the Rangers’ eighth inning. A high foul ball off the bat of Mitch Moreland popped out of the glove of catcher Jaso and Longoria made a desperate dive to catch the rebound. But he couldn’t hold the ball and Jaso was charged with an error.