ARLINGTON (CBS) Early on, the Tampa Bay Rays had an opportunity to go two games up in Arlington on Saturday night, but the Rangers squashed that opportunity with a come-from-behind win to tie up the American League Division Series at one game apiece.
The Rays had already dealt the Rangers a severe blow in game one of the ALDS, and a win last night would have given Tampa Bay a big advantage as the series heads to Tropicana Field for games three and four.
With a 3-0 lead through three innings and James Shields on the hill, the Rays jumped out early and held Texas scoreless in what looked like another soon-to-be meltdown for the Rangers. But the heavy-hitting Texas lineup didn’t remain quiet for too long.
Matt Joyce homered in the top half of the fourth to put the Rays up 3-0, but the Rangers erased their lead with a five-run fourth to stall Tampa Bay’s momentum.
Shields hit Elvis Andrus and gave up singles to Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to load the bases with no outs. Shields hit another batter to bring in the Rangers’ first run, then Mike Napoli singled to drive in two more and tie the game at three.
Rattled at this point, Shields faced David Murphy and clearly struck him out, but the plate umpire missed a crucial strikeout call that extended the inning for Texas. The next pitch he threw was wild and allowed another run to score. After the damage was done, Shields and the Rays escaped the fourth down by two runs.
An Ian Kinsler home run put the Rangers up 7-3 in the sixth, but Tampa Bay cut the lead to one with a homer by Evan Longoria with two men on to close the gap. Mitch Mooreland homered in the ninth to give the Rangers a big insurance run to come out on top against the streaking Rays.
The loss ended a winning streak of 31 games when Tampa Bayscores at least five runs or more. The Rays will face the Rangers in front of a sell out crowd Monday night in what could be the most important game of the series. The start time is 5:00 PM ET.