Rapid Reaction: Rays 8, Rangers 4
August, 29, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Tampa Bay Rays scored six runs off starter Matt Harrison in the first two innings and the Rangers weren't able to make a full comeback as the Rays won it, 8-4.
What it means: The loss means the Rangers don't sweep the Rays, but it was just the club's third loss in the last 12 games. Texas is 77-53 and remains two games up on the New York Yankees for the best record in the AL. The A's and Indians are still playing, but if the A's win, they'd close the gap to 4 1/2 games.
Early runs: Harrison gave up a run in the first inning after Desmond Jennings singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored when Ben Zobrist hit a double on a 3-1 pitch to left field. ... Evan Longoria's two-run homer made it 3-0. ... Harrison gave up as many hits in the first -- four -- as he did in his last two starts combined. He also gave up one more run in the inning than he did in his last 16 innings (in his two starts).
Longoria owns Harrison: Longoria has hit Harrison well throughout his career and that continued in the first. ... Longoria's home run to center field (a Greene's Hill kid made a nice catch) came with a man on. It was Longoria's third career home run against Harrison. If you include the playoffs, Longoria is 7-for-13 with three homers and nine RBIs off Harrison. ... Harrison wasn't the only Rangers pitcher to gave up a homer to Longoria. Alexi Ogando did as well in the top of the ninth.
Another homer: The Rays scored three more runs off Harrison in the second as they hit for the cycle the first time through the order. Sam Fuld, the No. 9 hitter, tripled to lead off the inning and after Jennings walked, B.J. Upton hit a 1-2 home run on a 95 mph fastball. The three-run blast, the second straight inning Harrison gave up a homer, put the Rays up 6-0. ... Harrison had allowed just three runs in his last three starts combined.
Harrison struggles: It wasn't the same Harrison who carried a no-hitter 6 2/3 innings against the Twins and ended with eight scoreless innings. Perhaps, he's just not comfortable against the Rays. On Wednesday, Harrison went 5 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on 12 hits, including three homers. ... Harrison gave up seven runs (six earned) on 14 hits in five innings in an April start vs. the Rays in Arlington.
Moreland goes deep: Mitch Moreland, whose glove work was so key in a win over the Rays on Tuesday, blistered a ball with his bat in the bottom of the second, hitting a two-run shot on a 1-2 curve ball. ... Moreland has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and is 15-for-41 (.366) with 13 RBIs in that stretch.
Left-handed batters vs. Cobb: The Rangers' left-handed hitters performed well against Alex Cobb, who exited the game after 4 2/3 innings. Josh Hamilton was 2-for-2 with a solo home run. David Murphy was 1-for-1 and Moreland was 1-for-1 with the two-run home run.
Rays bullpen solid: The Rays bullpen came in with the score at 6-4 and shut down the Rangers. They allowed just one hit in the final 4 1/3 innings to finish it off.
Nos. 36 and 112: Hamilton's solo homer in the fifth, which reached the second deck in right field, was 424 feet. It was his 36th of the year, adding to his career-high total. It was also RBI No. 112. That leads the majors.
Koji gets it done: Koji Uehara came in to relieve Harrison and had his splitter working. He pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits with two strikeouts. He got Longoria to ground into a double play in the seventh.
Tidbits: Adrian Beltre once again put up a highlight-reel play at third, charging a slow-roller hit by Elliot Johnson and making an off-balance throw to first to get him. ... There were 36,176 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday for the final game of the 10-game homestand and dollar hot dog night.
Up next: The Rangers are off Thursday and RHP Ryan Dempster (8-6, 2.99 ERA in AL & NL) faces RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-13, 5.58 ERA) at 6:05 p.m. Friday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.