Series: Game 1 of 2

Texas leads 1-0 (as of 5/1)

Game 1: Monday, May 1
Tampa Bay0
Game 2: Tuesday, May 2
Tampa Bay5

Rangers 3

(14-12, 8-5 away)

Devil Rays 0

(11-15, 6-5 home)

    7:15 PM ET, May 1, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 000010020 3 6 0
    TB 000000000 0 4 0

    W: K. Loe (1-2)

    L: S. McClung (1-4)

    S: A. Otsuka (2)

    Three Rangers combine on four-hitter in blanking Rays

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Kameron Loe was fighting a chest cold, so the Texas Rangers wanted to make sure he got plenty of rest before facing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    Instead of accompanying his teammates on a late-night flight that arrived in Florida from Cleveland during the wee hours Monday, the right-hander arrived a day early and settled into his hotel room.

    The move paid off Monday night when Loe and two relievers combined a four-hitter to beat the Devil Rays 3-0.

    "He had a good night's sleep last night, unlike everybody else," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "He made a lot of friends tonight with teammates, getting them on and off the field."

    The Rangers, who played in Cleveland on Sunday night, arrived at their hotel around 4:30 a.m. Loe (1-2) allowed a double and three singles in seven innings, throwing 84 pitches -- 58 for strikes -- in the 2-hour, 16-minute game.

    He retired the first 14 batters before giving up a single to Travis Lee with two outs in the fifth. He also allowed a leadoff double to Sean Burroughs in the sixth and singles to Damon Hollins and Lee in the seventh.

    The right-hander, the last Texas starter to get a win this season, struck out three and walked none in seven innings.

    "It's really nice to get that first one. Very nice," Loe said. "I felt like I could have gotten it a couple of times. ... I try not to get discouraged. I knew that I was pitching well enough to win, and it was just not going my way."

    For much of the night, Tampa Bay's Seth McClung (1-4) was almost as good, holding the Rangers to four hits -- one of them a solo homer by Rod Barajas -- until Mark DeRosa doubled leading off the eighth.

    Gary Matthews tripled on reliever Ruddy Lugo's first pitch to drive in DeRosa, then scored on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

    Francisco Cordero pitched the eighth for Texas and Akinori Otsuka worked the ninth to complete the shutout and earn his second save.

    "Their guy topped us. But I thought Seth was outstanding," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

    "The wasting of good pitching is a mortal sin," Maddon added in jest. "It's actually the 11th commandment."

    The performances by Loe and McClung were a marked contrast to the outings the right-handers had against each other in Arlington on April 21.

    McClung allowed nine runs and eight hits 2 1-3 innings, while Loe yielded six runs and seven hits in three innings. The Rangers won the game 13-7 as part of a three-game sweep in which they outscored the Devil Rays 27-15.

    Texas was limited to Teixeira's two-out, first-inning single until Barajas homered with two outs in the fifth. McClung even cooled off red-hot Kevin Mench, who went 0-for-4 to end a career-high 14-game hitting streak.

    The Rangers threatened to build on their lead when Hank Blalock drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and went to third on Brad Wilkerson's single. He was stranded when Wilkerson was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double and Barajas flied out.

    Loe only allowed one runner past first until Hollins singled with two outs in the seventh and raced to third on Lee's second hit of the game. The Texas starter escaped the jam when pinch-hitter Toby Hall grounded into a force play.

    "He pounded the strike zone early and got ahead of us. You've got to tip your hat to him," Tampa Bay's Ty Wigginton said. "Seth deserved the `W.' The offense just wasn't there to support him."

    Game notes

    Tampa Bay's Tomas Perez popped to second in the third inning, ending a stretch in which he struck out in eight consecutive plate appearances -- one shy of the major league record for a non-pitcher. ... After stumbling to a 2-7 start, the Rangers have gone 12-5. ... The Devil Rays hit a franchise-record 34 home runs in April and their 11 victories were one shy of the club mark for the first month of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press