Rapid Reaction: Rays 3, Rangers 1 (11)

September, 7, 2012
9/07/12
9:57
PM CT

Mark Lowe gave up a two-run, walkoff home run to Ben Zobrist in the 11th inning as the Rangers lost to the Rays, 3-1, in the first game of a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Some quick thoughts:

What it means: The Rangers drop to 82-56 and are 4 1/2 games ahead of Oakland after the A's won late Friday night.

Holland excellent: Derek Holland had one of his best outings of the season, allowing just one run (on a solo homer) on two hits in eight innings. He was efficient, needing 95 pitches to get through the first seven innings, and pitched quickly and confidently. He was rarely in any kind of jam and was able to bear down with men on base and produce plenty of swings and misses.

PODCAST
Ron Washington on Derek Holland's masterful performance and the Rangers' 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay in 11 innings.

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Career-high strikeouts: Holland had 11 on Friday, setting a new career-high. And many of them were big outs to end innings. That included a stretch in the first, when Holland walked B.J. Upton with one out. He got Zobrist on a 3-2 sinker on the inside corner and then was able to get Evan Longoria swinging on a high 95 mph fastball to end the frame. ... Holland struck out Desmond Jennings and Zobrist in the sixth as well with an Upton single sandwiched in between. ... He got his 11th strikeout to end the eighth inning, throwing a 93 mph fastball by Jennings. ... Holland struck out Jennings three times and got Zobrist and Ben Francisco twice.

Quality start: Holland has four straight quality starts and he's pitched at least seven innings in three of those. He's certainly starting to look more and more like the pitcher that was so solid in the second half of the 2011 season.

Longoria vs. Holland: Longoria has certainly figured out Holland. He was 10-for-24 with three homers off Holland before belting a home run in the fourth inning with two outs and no one on base. In fact, the Longoria homer was the first hit of the night given up by Holland.

Young's power: Michael Young has all of a sudden begun to hit the ball deep. He had a home run to tie the score with one out in the fifth. It was his seventh homer of the season, but his third on this road trip. In fact, Young has four homers in the last nine Rangers road games and he's got an RBI in six straight games. Perhaps the franchise leader in hits is finding his stroke at the right time.

Long single: Ian Kinsler swung at the very first pitch of the game and hit it on a rope off the wall in left-field. But it was belted hard enough that he had to stop at first.

Double plays hurt early: The Rangers hit into double plays in the first two innings to hurt rally chances. Elvis Andrus followed Kinsler's single with a ground ball double play and Young hit into one to end the second after Adrian Beltre got on.

Hitting streak: Beltre, who was in contention for AL player of the month for August, has continued to hit well in September. He had a single in the second to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Beltre has five homers and eight RBIs in that stretch.

Hellickson holds Rangers down: While Holland was superb, Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson held his own. He wasn't able to go as deep into the game as Holland, but he allowed one run (like Holland, it was a solo homer) and had five strikeouts and one walk. But he threw 95 pitches through six innings. Holland had the same pitch count through seven.

Uehara gets big out: After allowing a one-out walk to Chris Gimenez, Koji Uehara fell behind Longoria in the bottom of the ninth. But he threw a couple of nice splitters and ended up striking out Longoria. That was the end of his night with Michael Kirkman coming in to face the left-handed hitting Carlos Pena.

Profar's parents: Jurickson Profar got a chance to hit in the 11th inning and did so with his parents in the stands and the scouts -- Chu Halibi and Jose Luis Felomina -- that signed him in attendance.

Up next: RHP Yu Darvish (14-9, 4.29 ERA) takes on Chris Archer, who will be making a spot start in place of David Price, who has a sore shoulder. Archer is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in two big league starts, both in June.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
2 2.70 12 20
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Andrus .309
HRE. Andrus 1
RBIA. Rios 7
RE. Andrus 8
OPSS. Choo .796
ERAY. Darvish 0.00
SOY. Darvish 15