The Texas Rangers were in position to capture their first playoff series win in Arlington on Saturday but could not complete the sweep against Tampa Bay, falling 6-3.
Texas held a 2-1 lead after seven innings but the Rays scored twice in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead. Carlos Pena singled off of Darren Oliver to score pinch runner Desmond Jennings to knot the game at 2-2. Darren O’Day struck out B.J. Upton for the second out of the eighth but then Ron Washington elected to bring in closer Neftali Feliz to finish the inning. Feliz gave up a single to John Jaso which plated Pena and gave the Rays a 3-2 lead.
Feliz surrendered a solo home run to Carl Crawford to lead off the ninth inning. Dustin Nippert relieved Feliz and gave up a two run home run to Pena, giving the Rays a 6-2 lead in the ninth inning.
The Rangers struck first when Elvis Andrus grounded out, scoring Mitch Moreland who hit a leadoff double to start the third inning before advancing to third on a passed ball by Jaso.
Tampa would tie the game on an Upton double in the sixth. The tie was short lived as Ian Kinsler led off the seventh with a solo home run, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead before the Rays touched up the Rangers bullpen for five runs over the last two frames.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Matt Garza pitched into the seventh, giving up two runs (one earned), walking two and striking out four. Colby Lewis pitched into the sixth for Texas but was removed after issuing a leadoff walk to Evan Longoria. Lewis didn’t give up any runs and only allowed two hits while striking out five but issued five walks in the contest.
Joaquin Benoit is credited with the victory in relief, pitching one and two thirds scoreless frames, striking out one without allowing a baserunner. Darren Oliver is charged with the loss.
Texas will send Tommy Hunter to the mound to face off against Wade Davis of the Rays in Game 4 as the Rangers look to clinch the ALDS in Arlington.
First pitch is scheduled for 12:07 PM local time.