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Tampa Bay (79-76) «0000000347110
Texas (85-70)020030010671

Rays rally from five-run deficit to stun Rangers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers left home still mathematically in contention for a playoff spot and with Michael Young ready to return to the lineup.

The Rangers' chances of ending their 10-year postseason drought would be a bit more realistic had they not blown a late five-run lead in their home finale Sunday and lost 7-6 to the Tampa Bay Rays, the defending American League champions just playing out the season.

"I love the fact that we didn't quit, that we kept fighting and eventually won," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's a tough circumstance to play in and I love what we did. Last road game, we'd done nothing good against a team that's trying to get into the playoffs. And we come back to win."

 Playoff Race

And deal a staggering blow to the Rangers. With seven games left, Texas trails by six in the division and wild-card race. The AL West-leading Angels beat Oakland 7-4 on Sunday, and wild-card leader Boston lost 4-2 at the New York Yankees.

Texas opens a four-game series Monday night in Los Angeles before finishing the regular season with three games in Seattle.

"Most of us got an idea of how perfect you have to be in September," Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy said. "You have to win the games you're supposed to win and come back and win the ones you're not supposed to win."

McCarthy did his part.

The Rangers led 5-0 when the right-hander threw his last pitch with two outs in the eighth, after an error by third baseman Chris Davis extended the inning. Four relievers faltered after that.

"I missed a routine ground ball and that was the game. We had the momentum, two outs, it's a play that's got to be made," Davis said. "My error definitely took the momentum away from us."

Young, the All-Star third baseman who has missed 22 of the last 23 games with a strained left hamstring, said he would be back in the lineup Monday. Davis would then move back to first.

Fernando Perez drove home the go-ahead run with a squeeze bunt in the ninth for Tampa Bay, which scored three times in the eighth and four in its last at-bat to avoid its second sweep in Texas this season. Ben Zobrist had a two-run single in each of the final two innings.

  Vizquel wants to play next season

Perez, who entered as a pinch runner in the eighth, laid down the safety squeeze bunt after Zobrist's two-run single off Frank Francisco (2-3). Carl Crawford also had an RBI single in the ninth.

"Fernando's bunt was absolutely perfect, perfectly executed," Maddon said.

Nelson Cruz and Marlon Byrd homered for Texas, which scored 29 runs in the three-game series after totaling 19 in its previous nine-game homestand. That 2-7 stretch pushed the Rangers to their largest playoff deficit all season.

McCarthy gave up two runs, both unearned, and six hits over 7 2/3 innings in his fifth start since spending nearly two months on the disabled list because of a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade.

He quickly got the first two outs in the eighth before the error by Davis and a walk. Darren O'Day and C.J. Wilson both faced two batters and failed to retire any of them, before Francisco came on to strike out pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun.

But Francisco, who had converted 24 of 27 saves, got himself in trouble in the ninth. The right-hander walked two and gave up three hits before hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz took over to face Perez.

Randy Choate (1-0), the fourth of six Tampa Bay pitchers, gave up the homer to Byrd in his only inning, the eighth. Lance Cormier got the final out for his second save.

The Rangers went in front on Cruz's 33rd homer, a two-out shot in the second that snapped a 4-for-30 slump.

Cruz also had a leadoff single and scored in Texas' three-run fifth against rookie left-hander David Price. Ian Kinsler doubled in Cruz before Elvis Andrus' squeeze play turned into an run-scoring bunt single and David Murphy hit a sacrifice fly.

After replacing McCarthy in the eighth, O'Day walked Evan Longoria and gave up a two-run single to Zobrist that made it 5-2. Wilson allowed an RBI single to Willy Aybar and hit B.J. Upton with a pitch before Francisco came in.

Notes

  • A strange ending to the Rangers fifth: Andrus was caught stealing at third for the third out on the same pitch Byrd drew a walk. Byrd, who hadn't even left the batter's box, still had to go to first base to be credited with the walk.
  • Upton had gone six games without a strikeout until ending the fourth with his 149th -- and then added No. 150 in the ninth, fifth most in the AL.
  • Byrd's homer in the eighth, his third in two games, gave him his first 20-homer season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Needing every win they can get, the Rangers can ill afford collapses like this one vs. the Rays.  (AP)
Needing every win they can get, the Rangers can ill afford collapses like this one vs. the Rays. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 4
Texas

N. Cruz
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS4220001 .322
Carl Crawford, LF5231001 .308
Evan Longoria, 3B3210211 .284
Ben Zobrist, 2B-1B5024001 .287
Willy Aybar, DH4011002 .249
    Fernando Perez, PR-DH-RF0001000 .192
B.J. Upton, CF4010033 .238
Gabe Gross, RF3000001 .234
   a- Gabe Kapler, PH0000000 .236
   b- Gregg Zaun, PH1000013 .259
Chris Richard, 1B2000100 .125
   c- Akinori Iwamura, PH-2B0100100 .290
Dioner Navarro, C3010000 .219
   d- Pat Burrell, PH1000011 .225
    Shawn Riggans, C0000000 .167
Totals35711746  
a-announced for Gross in the 8th
b-struck out for Kapler in the 8th
c-walked for Richard in the 9th
d-struck out for Navarro in the 9th
Batting
SH - Fernando Perez (1)
RBI - Carl Crawford (67), Ben Zobrist 4 (83), Willy Aybar (36), Fernando Perez (1)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist 2 (29), Willy Aybar (4)
SB - Jason Bartlett (26, 2nd base off McCarthy/Teagarden)
CS - Jason Bartlett (7, 2nd base by McCarthy/Teagarden)
Team LOB - 8
Tampa Bay Rays
David Price 5655241 4.60
Russ Springer 1000010 4.18
Dan Wheeler 1000000 3.38
Randy Choate (W,1-0) 1111011 3.78
Grant Balfour (H,18) 0.2000000 4.96
Lance Cormier (S,2) 0.1000100 3.27
HBP - Andrus (by David Price)
Pitches-Strikes - David Price 94-58, Russ Springer 13-11, Dan Wheeler 8-5, Randy Choate 11-8, Grant Balfour 10-6, Lance Cormier 10-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 3-6, Russ Springer 1-1, Randy Choate 2-0, Grant Balfour 1-1
Batters Faced - David Price 22, Russ Springer 3, Dan Wheeler 3, Randy Choate 4, Grant Balfour 2, Lance Cormier 2
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B3111000 .250
Elvis Andrus, SS3011010 .269
David Murphy, LF3001011 .275
Marlon Byrd, CF3111101 .283
Hank Blalock, 1B4000010 .239
    Omar Vizquel, 3B0000000 .266
Andruw Jones, DH3100100 .212
Nelson Cruz, RF4222010 .263
Chris Davis, 3B-1B3110110 .229
Taylor Teagarden, C3010012 .210
   a- Julio Borbon, PH1000001 .318
Totals3067636  
a-flied out for Teagarden in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ian Kinsler (29, Price), Taylor Teagarden (11, Price)
HR - Marlon Byrd (20, Choate), Nelson Cruz (33, Price)
SF - David Murphy (9)
SH - Ian Kinsler (2)
RBI - Ian Kinsler (85), Elvis Andrus (35), David Murphy (55), Marlon Byrd (89), Nelson Cruz 2 (76)
2-OUT RBI - Marlon Byrd (35), Nelson Cruz 2 (34)
SB - Elvis Andrus (32, 2nd base off Price/Navarro)
CS - Elvis Andrus 2 (6, 2nd base by Price/Navarro, 3rd base by Price/Navarro)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Kinsler-Blalock, Andrus-Kinsler-Blalock
E - Chris Davis (5, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
Brandon McCarthy 7.2620130 4.47
Darren O'Day0111100 1.93
C.J. Wilson0100000 2.90
Frank Francisco (BS,4; L,2-3) 0.2344220 3.91
Neftali Feliz 0.2000010 1.80
HBP - Bartlett (by Brandon McCarthy), Upton (by C.J. Wilson)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon McCarthy 96-63, Darren O'Day 11-5, C.J. Wilson 10-5, Frank Francisco 30-15, Neftali Feliz 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon McCarthy 9-9, Neftali Feliz 1-0
Batters Faced - Brandon McCarthy 29, Darren O'Day 2, C.J. Wilson 2, Frank Francisco 7, Neftali Feliz 2
Game Information
Attendance - 37905
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Paul Schrieber