The Rangers’ relievers blew a chance to see the team’s record go above .500 for the first time this season and dashed a win opportunity for John Gray, who pitched wonderfully in the contest against the Rays at Globe Life Field on June 1. Texas fell 5-4 in extra innings.
“Jon Gray was fantastic,” Rangers’ Manager Chris Woodard said after the loss. “Twelve punchouts, like that’s obviously the best we’ve seen him.”
Gray collected a dozen strikeouts during the seven innings he pitched, allowing three hits, one earned run, and walking two.
Texas was first to strike in Wednesday’s tilt as catcher Sam Huff hit his first home run of the season and the fourth of his career. He connected on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the second, a 91 mph fastball thrown by Rays pitcher Jeffery Springs. Huff would go 2-for-3 at the dish — raising his season average to .386 — with two RBIs and a run scored.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nathanial Lowe belted a 2-2 on Springs’ fastball into the rightfield stands, giving Texas a 2-0 lead. The tater from Lowe was his fourth of the season.
Tampa would score two unanswered runs, one in the seventh and the other in the eighth inning, to knot the contest at 2-2.
In the top of the 10th, with Brett Phillips, the extra-inning ghost runner, on base, Vidal Brujan hit a sac-fly to left, scoring Phillips to give the Rays a 3-2 edge.
Texas would pinch-run Charlie Culberson for Mitch Garver in the bottom of the 10th before Adolis Garcia smoked a line-drive single to left field, scoring Culberson. The RBI was No.32 on the season for Garcia, tops for Texas, and sixth-best in the American League. Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez leads all baseball with 52 runs batted in.
The Rays took a 4-3 lead in the 11th when Dennis Santana –who allowed the 10th inning run – gave up a double to Ji-Man Choi. Choi was robbed of a home run in the first game of the series.
Texas went down in order in the bottom of the 11th inning and suffered defeat as Santana saw his record slip to 2-2 on the season.
“The good thing is that when we keep putting ourselves in these situations, we’re going to learn from it,” Woodward said. “I felt like we let the moment kind of get us a little bit, but it’s something we gotta learn from, and we’re going to keep playing close games, so we’re going to have to find ways to come through in those situations.”
The loss drops Texas to 24-25 and third place in the AL West, and the win pushes the Rays to 29-21, third place in the AL East.
The Rangers and Rays wrap up their four-game series today at Globe Life Field at 1:05 p.m. on Lou Gehrig Day at the ballpark. Probable pitchers for the game are Taylor Hearn for the Rangers (3-3, 5.36) and Corey Kluber for Tampa (1-2, 4.03).