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Rays stifle Rangers' bats

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Ben Zobrist caught a flyball in deep right field, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was more concerned about the runner who was going to third base.

Zobrist instead made a perfect throw to home plate for a double play to end the Texas eighth inning, and the Rays held on for a 2-0 victory Wednesday, winning the finale of what had been a difficult three-game series in Texas.

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"Especially in a big situation, where we're trying to prevent runs, especially going into the ninth, it felt great," Zobrist said. "It was exciting, and warmed me up just a little bit."

Matt Moore (2-0) combined with four relievers on a five-hitter and the Rays got their only runs on a fielder's choice grounder by Zobrist and a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria to win the coldest day game ever at Rangers Ballpark.

It was only 39 degrees when the game started after a rain delay of 1 hour, 29 minutes. That was 40 degrees colder than Tuesday night.

Texas had runners at second and third with one out in the eighth when pinch-hitter Leonys Martin hit the fly to right. Adrian Beltre tagged up from third base, and David Murphy was ready to advance from second.

"I was really surprised on Zo's throw. I did not think he had a shot, I thought it was too deep," Maddon said. "But he made an absolutely perfect throw and (catcher Jose Lobaton) did a nice job on the other end."

Texas, which had won six of seven since its season-opening loss at Houston, also appeared to have a run in the sixth. Mitch Moreland, the third batter after Moore left the game, beat out an inning-ending double-play grounder.

Moreland had already been signaled safe and Nelson Cruz had crossed home plate when interference was called against Jeff Baker at second. Baker slid away from the bag and into the path of shortstop Yunel Escobar, who double-clutched before making the relay throw.

"It was obvious (Baker) made no intent to get to the bag," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, who did go out to discuss the call with second base umpire Marty Foster. "He may have done that, but that had no effect on why (Escobar) double- or triple-clutched on the throw."

That inning-ending play was much different than the game-ending strike in Monday night's series opener that Texas won 5-4. That game ended with Zobrist batting when Foster was behind home plate and called strike three on a full-count curveball low and outside - a call the ump later admitted he got wrong.

"The last two days were tough days, tough losses for us," Zobrist said. "But getting a win going into an off day certainly feels a lot better, albeit how cold it was and how we didn't necessarily kill the ball."

Longoria had a sacrifice fly in the fifth for Tampa Bay, which had lost three in a row and on Thursday has its only day off in a 27-day span to start the season. The Rays start a four-game series at Boston on Friday.

Derek Holland (0-1) limited the Rays to two runs and five hits over eight innings. The Texas lefty struck out four and walked three, all those walks coming in the third to load the bases before Zobrist's grounder.

Moore limited Texas to a single and struck out five, but had six walks and threw 106 pitches - 52 of them balls with two wild pitches - in his 5 1-3 innings. He benefited from two double-play grounders, one soon after he came out of the game.

"Where the big pitches that really needed to be made, I was locked into those moments," Moore said. "From that, we can be happy with what the results were."

Cesar Ramos, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney finished out Tampa Bay's third shutout of the season. Rodney got his first save.

The only other time Moore pitched in Texas was the 2011 AL division series opener, when he threw seven scoreless innings for the Rays. He threw six shutout frames against Cleveland last week in his first start this season.

Holland's first walk was to No. 9 hitter Kelly Johnson leading off the third. Johnson eventually scored when Zobrist beat out a throw to first that prevented an inning-ending double play.

"I felt like I had better command of my fastball. I got a little erratic (in the third)," Holland said. "I went out there and battled. I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up about it. ... It definitely was cold, but I've got to make my pitches and he's got to make his pitches."

Notes

  • The only colder start at Rangers Ballpark, which is in its 20th season, was a night game against Boston on April 7, 2007, when it was 38 degrees. Texas is more known for the summer heat. Just two seasons ago, the temperature was at least 100 degrees for 27 games at the park.
  • Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux had to go to the dentist when a crown came loose. That's why bullpen coach Andy Hawkins visited Holland on the mound in the third. Maddux was back in the dugout soon after that.
 
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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Rays pitcher Matt Moore limits Texas to a single and strikes out five, but has six walks and throws 106 pitches. (AP)
Rays pitcher Matt Moore limits Texas to a single and strikes out five, but has six walks and throws 106 pitches. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Texas

D. Holland
IP 8.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 3
K 4
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF4110011 .250
Sean Rodriguez, LF3000101 .100
    Sam Fuld, LF0000000 .111
Evan Longoria, DH2001110 .345
Ben Zobrist, RF4021000 .364
Shelley Duncan, 1B4010014 .227
    James Loney, 1B0000000 .217
Yunel Escobar, SS3000011 .100
Ryan Roberts, 3B4010002 .286
Jose Lobaton, C4000003 .231
    Jose Molina, C0000000 .231
Kelly Johnson, 2B3110101 .182
Totals3126234  
Batting
2B - Desmond Jennings (5, Holland), Ben Zobrist (3, Holland)
SF - Evan Longoria (1)
SH - Yunel Escobar (1)
RBI - Evan Longoria (3), Ben Zobrist (9)
CS - Kelly Johnson (1, 2nd base by Scheppers/Soto)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ben Zobrist 1
DP - Roberts-Johnson-Duncan, Johnson-Escobar-Duncan, Zobrist-Lobaton
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Moore (W,2-0) 5.1100650 0.00
Cesar Ramos (H,1) 0.2100100 8.31
Jake McGee (H,1) 1000110 15.00
Joel Peralta (H,2) 1200000 2.45
Fernando Rodney (S,1) 1100010 10.13
WP - Matt Moore 2 (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 106-54, Cesar Ramos 9-3, Jake McGee 24-14, Joel Peralta 12-10, Fernando Rodney 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 5-5, Cesar Ramos 1-0, Jake McGee 1-1, Fernando Rodney 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Moore 22, Cesar Ramos 3, Jake McGee 4, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 4
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B4000112 .286
Elvis Andrus, SS2000202 .235
Adrian Beltre, 3B3010111 .200
Nelson Cruz, DH3000104 .353
David Murphy, LF4020000 .176
Jeff Baker, RF1000210 .000
   a- Leonys Martin, PH-RF1000002 .176
Mitch Moreland, 1B4010024 .219
Geovany Soto, C3000011 .167
   b- A.J. Pierzynski, PH1000001 .333
Craig Gentry, CF3010111 .308
Totals2905087  
a-flied out for Baker in the 8th
b-flied out for Soto in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Murphy (1, Peralta)
SB - Craig Gentry (3, 2nd base off McGee/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Adrian Beltre (2, Throwing)
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Derek Holland (L,0-1) 8522340 2.40
Tanner Scheppers 1100000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Holland 110-68, Tanner Scheppers 9-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Holland 11-10
Batters Faced - Derek Holland 33, Tanner Scheppers 3
Game Information
Attendance - 26643
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 39
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Scott Barry