American League Game Summary - Texas at Tampa Bay
(Thursday, September 19th)
Final Score: Texas 8, Tampa Bay 2
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - A four-game series between Texas and Tampa Bay for control of the AL wild-card lead settled nothing.
The standings remained as they were prior to this set at Tropicana Field, with the Rangers and Rays tied at the top.
Elvis Andrus knocked in three runs, Craig Gentry had four hits with an RBI, and the Rangers earned a split with a critical 8-2 win on Thursday.
The teams have a half-game lead over Cleveland in the wild-card race. The Rangers clinched the season series for them at 4-3, giving them home-field advantage in the wild-card game if they finish with the same record as the Rays.
An anticipated pitchers' duel between Texas' Yu Darvish and the Rays' Matt Moore never materialized as both struggled on the mound.
"Neither guy was on top of his game tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of the two starting pitchers.
Darvish (13-9), who had lost a career-high four straight starts, needed 109 pitches to complete five innings. The Japanese right-hander surrendered just two first-inning runs, but matched a personal worst with six walks.
Moore (15-4) lasted only four frames, allowing six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits. He struck out six and walked one in his first loss since June 14.
An RBI single by Alex Rios staked Texas to an early lead, but the Rays took advantage of Darvish's erratic control to move in front.
The outing began with a hit batsman for Darvish, who issued three two-out walks in a four-batter span. James Loney followed a free pass to Evan Longoria with an opposite-field double down the left-field line to score David DeJesus. Desmond Jennings forced in another run with a bases-loaded walk.
Texas, though, regained the lead with a power display in the third as Moore gave up solo homers to three of the first four batters. Mitch Moreland led off with a blast to left-center field, and Andrus and Rios clubbed back-to-back drives to left with one out.
"We're playing better baseball," Andrus said. "That's how we're looking right now. You can see how everything is starting to fall on track."
In the next inning, Gentry and Ian Kinsler, following a double steal, each scored when Andrus beat out a two-out chopper to short.
A two-out run-scoring single by Gentry made it 7-2 in the seventh, and Geovany Soto added a leadoff smash for Texas two innings later.
Darvish picked up his first win since Aug. 12. He had two no-decisions before the losing streak ... Gentry had three of the Rangers' five stolen bases ... Texas outhit the Rays 16-7 ... The Rangers were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
09/20 02:30:49 ET