Rays rally to beat Rangers on Loney's double
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - James Loney hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-4 comeback win over the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field.
Matt Joyce smacked a two-run homer for the Rays, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit. Yunel Escobar celebrated a contract extension with Tampa Bay by belting a solo shot, while starter David Price gave up four runs on nine hits and struck out six over six innings.
Nick Martinez, making his major league debut, was in line for the win before Neal Cotts (0-1) gave up Loney's double that sailed over the head of left- fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
"He's calm, but he's got that thing going on inside. It definitely burns. He wants to win and he wants to play well," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Loney.
Cotts, tasked with protecting a 4-3 lead, walked Wil Myers to begin the eighth and intentionally gave Evan Longoria a free pass after a sacrifice bunt. Loney followed by sending the lefty's offering the opposite way to put the Rays on top.
"At the end, we had the right people in there, we just didn't get the job done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Brandon Gomes (1-0) had tossed a 1-2-3 eighth for Tampa Bay, and Grant Balfour retired the Rangers in order in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.
Martinez, who had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco, allowed four hits, including the homers by Joyce and Escobar, and walked three in six innings.
Alex Rios gave Texas an early lead with a two-run double in the first inning, and after three consecutive two-out hits, the last one by Elvis Andrus, the Rangers made it 3-0 at the end of two.
Escobar, who agreed to a two-year, $13 million extension before Saturday's game, homered to left leading off the third.
Choo lofted a sacrifice fly in the fourth, but Joyce responded in the home half of the inning with a blast to right.
Escobar's deal includes a club option for 2017 ... Andrus and Josh Wilson each had three hits for Texas ... Reliever Daniel McCutchen was optioned to Frisco to make room for Martinez.
04/06 00:39:41 ET