Rangers Can't Avoid Sweep, Fall 8-6 To Rays

Derek Holland has been recalled from AAA and will start today in Tampa Bay as the Rangers look to avoid being swept.

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Official Recap: Tampa Bay 8, Texas 6

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Evan Longoria went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, two run-scoring doubles and knocked in four, as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep of the American League West Division-leading Texas Rangers with an 8-6 win at Tropicana Field.

B.J. Upton finished with two hits, including a solo shot and stole two bases for Tampa Bay, which has won seven of nine and moved a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East. The Rays earned their sixth series sweep of three or more games this season. The club last swept Texas from May 15-17, 2007.

James Shields (11-11) snapped a two-start losing skid after working seven solid innings. The right-hander allowed two runs — one earned — on four hits, struck out six and walked one. Rafael Soriano retired the final two hitters in the ninth to earn his 35th save of the season.

Mitch Moreland clubbed a two-run homer and Taylor Teagarden chipped in with a solo shot for the Rangers, who have dropped five of seven.

Derek Holland (2-2), who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to the game to make the start in place of Rich Harden, who was put on the 15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis, yielded five runs on six hits with four walks and struck out eight over 4 1/3 innings. Holland had been sidelined with left rotator cuff inflammation and a right knee injury since his last start on May 30.

Tampa Bay pushed across a two-out run in the first to grab an early lead. Carl Crawford singled and came around to score on Longoria’s double to center.

The Rangers stranded a runner in the third and two more in the fourth before Longoria cracked a leadoff homer just inside the left-field foul pole to give the Rays a 2-0 advantage in the home fourth.

Teagarden’s one-out solo shot to left in the fifth cut the Rangers deficit in half. However, the Rays answered with three in the home portion.

Upton started the inning with a solo homer and the next two batters walked. After Longoria chased in a run with a double, Carlos Pena struck out. Alexi Ogando entered in place of Holland and fanned Kelly Shoppach, then intentionally walked Ben Zobrist to load the bases. The right-hander proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to force in another and put the hosts up 5-1.

Andres Blanco led off the sixth with an infield base hit, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on Shields’ wild pitch. Crawford’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half restored the Rays’ four-run cushion.

Joyce’s RBI single in the seventh put Tampa Bay ahead 7-2. In the eighth, Joaquin Arias singled and went to third on Julio Borbon’s double before Texas got two runs back on run-scoring groundouts from Blanco and Josh Hamilton.

Longoria’s sac fly in the home eighth scored Jason Bartlett, who singled, went to second on an error and stole third to make it 8-4.

Jorge Cantu reached base on a one-out fielder’s choice in the ninth and Moreland belted a homer to right to close the gap to two. Soriano was summoned from the bullpen and retired the last two batters to lock down the win.

Game Notes

Texas took two of three from the Rays earlier in the year, but has lost 13 of its last 16 at Tropicana Field…Tampa Bay went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10, while Texas finished 1-for-4 with RISP and left only three.

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Follow Derek Holland's Start Against The Rays Live

To follow today’s game as Derek Holland and the Rangers take on the Rays, head over to Lone Star Ball.

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Holland Back With Texas As Rangers Look To Avoid Sweep

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays go after their fifth straight win this afternoon when they try to complete a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field.

After rallying for a 6-4 win in Monday's opener, the Rays cruised on Tuesday, as Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria each had three hits and drove in three runs to back a strong start by Matt Garza in Tampa's 10-1 rout.

Crawford finished a double shy of the cycle, slamming a two-run homer, while Longoria had a double and a triple. The Rays totaled 15 hits, seven for extra bases.

Crawford, 29, also recorded the 100th triple of his career, making him the youngest player to reach that total since Stan Musial (28 years, 8 months) in 1949.

It was plenty of support for Garza (12-7), who struck out a season-high 10 over seven shutout innings. The right-hander allowed five hits and walked two for the Rays, who have won six of eight and remained tied with the Yankees atop the AL East. New York beat Detroit on Tuesday.

"I had great stuff tonight," Garza said. "I was locating my fastball well. My slider came right off of that. Curveball was coming back. Got a couple big swings and misses and a couple watching. So that was good. Changeup. Everything was there tonight. So I really can't complain."

Tommy Hunter (9-2) gave up four runs in three-plus innings and took the loss for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have lost six of nine.

"I need to locate a fastball down and away, start things off," Hunter said. "Probably going to be a key to success. That's what [pitching coach Mike Maddux] preaches, and I wasn't able to do that again tonight."

Heading to the hill for the Rays today will be righty James Shields, who has lost his last two starts after winning three straight. Shields was roughed up by the woeful Baltimore Orioles on Friday, as he allowed four runs and 10 hits in five innings, dropping him to 10-11 on the season, while raising his earned run average to 4.98.

Shields lost to the Rangers back on June 5 and is 2-2 lifetime against them with a 4.63 ERA in five starts.

Texas, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Derek Holland, who is filling in for the injured Rich Harden. Holland has made five appearances for the Rangers this season and is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA. However, the 23-year-old hasn't pitched on the big league level since getting tagged with the loss to Minnesota back on May 19.

Holland is 2-0 in two starts against the Rays with a 5.73 ERA in those outings.

Texas took two of three from the Rays earlier in the year, but has lost 12 of its last 15 at the Trop.

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