THE PRICE WASN’T RIGHT
ARLINGTON, Texas – Tampa Bay’s David Price came to Arlington as the American League’s leading game winner with 16, but Monday night the Rangers tagged him for six runs in four innings to beat the Rays 6-5. The loss moved his record to 16-5 and increased his ERA by 24 points to 2.53. It was his first loss in 13 starts, as he won eight games and took four no-decisions in his previous 12 outings.
Price gave up back to back home runs to Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz to open the second inning. Michael Young followed with a single and ultimately scored to take back the 2-0 lead Evan Longoria handed Price with a first inning home run. After Tampa tied the game in the third, the first two Ranger batters in the bottom half of the inning singled and scored on Beltre’s second hit of the game – a double – and Texas was back in the lead at 5-3. The Rays again came back though to tie the game at five with a pair of fifth inning runs. Price however saw just three more batters, as the first three Rangers of the fifth inning singled to give the Rangers the 6-5 lead they never gave up.
Price was out after 69 pitches, 53 of which were strikes. It was the fewest pitches he’s thrown in a game this season, and the four innings completed was his second shortest outing. Ranger batters made contact early in counts, and when asked about if that was part of the game plan, Manager Ron Washington said, “When he threw his fastball across the plate, we didn’t miss it.”
Derek Holland (9-6) was the winning pitcher. He was the victim of some shoddy fielding, but he wasn’t especially sharp. In the first, Elvis Andrus booted a routine ground ball to put a runner on base. That faux pas could have been erased with a double play on the ground ball hit by the next batter, except Andrus muffed the exchange and was unable to make a relay throw after getting the force out at second. That set the stage for Longoria’s two run home run that put the Rays on the scoreboard first with unearned runs.
After the Rangers took the lead, the shoddy defense cost another run. Desmond Jennings led off the third with a fly ball to left. A difficult play yes, but very catchable. Josh Hamilton didn’t catch it though, and Jennings went to third. It was scored a triple, and Jennings scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Texas again took the lead at 5-3, but Holland gave up two more in the fifth inning when the first three Rays batters got hits – single, triple and single, in that order. Texas came back in the bottom half to plate what proved to be the winning run.
Holland breezed through the sixth and qualified for a win. It was overall an inconsistent performance, but it was good enough to win; and when the opposing pitcher is of the ilk of David Price, a win is even more special than usual.
The Rangers’ bullpen again clamped down on the win. Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan were perfect over the final three innings striking out six of nine batters. Joe Nathan earned his 26th save of the year and extended his streak of consecutive save conversions to 24, a new Ranger club record and the best in the American League this year.
Manager Ron Washington was excited over all four pitchers after the game. He complimented Holland for throwing a strong sixth inning after Texas took the 6-5 lead, and said about Ogando, “Tonight, he was fresh and strong. He had a good fastball. The bullpen wasn’t going to let us lose this game tonight.”
The Rangers are now 24 games over .500 for the season at 76-52, which is the best record in the A. L. It’s the second time they have been 24 games over .500, the other being after last Saturday’s win over the Twins. The Athletics beat Cleveland 3-0 to stay 5.5 games behind Texas in the West. The Angels did not play Monday night, so they dropped to 10 games out of first place. The magic numbers are now 30 over Oakland and 25 over Los Angeles.
The series continues Tuesday night with Yu Darvish pitching for Texas against Tampa Bay’s “Big Game” James Shields.
- The American League named Adrian Beltre its Player of the Week for the week ended August 26. He hit three home runs in a game last Wednesday against Baltimore, and hit for the cycle Friday against Minnesota. He batted .433 for the week, with five home runs and nine RBI’s. Oddly, he was second on the Rangers in RBIs last week – Mitch Moreland led with 10. It was Beltre’s third time to win the Player of the Week honor, but his first as a Ranger.
- Michael Young was reinstated from the Paternity Leave List to play Monday’s game and was in the starting lineup batting sixth as the designated hitter. Infielder Luis Hernandez, who was added to the roster over the weekend when Young was placed on paternity leave, was designated for assignment.
- Mike Napoli had hoped to be activated from the disabled list this Saturday when rosters expand. However, after a running drill prior to Monday’s game, Napoli indicated he probably won’t be ready this weekend.
Monday night’s attendance was 29,453, which brought the season total over the 2.8 million mark for 66 home dates, an average of 42,900 per game. The total with 15 home dates remaining is the sixth best in Ranger his