In contrast, Texas took advantage of the opportunities handed to them. Jeff Francoeur followed Ian Kinslers leadoff base hit with an RBI-double to open the second inning. After a strikeout by Jorge Cantu, Bengie Molina singled home Francoeur. Price yielded a run in the next three frames as well to give the Rangers a commanding 5-0 lead. Nelson Cruz popped a solo homer to dead center field in the third, as did Molina in the fourth inning. Josh Hamilton reached on an error by Sean Rodriguez in the fifth and stole second; he was then driven in by a Vladimir Guerrero double.
The Rays' only run came when Ben Zobrist who had doubled to lead off the second took a 1-0 fastball into the stands in right field in the seventh inning. At that point, the damage had been done and the Rays offensive struggles against Lee made this game an easy Texas win. Its more frustrating considering that one third of Lees regular season losses came at the hands of this Rays team. Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz gave up two walks to open the bottom of the ninth and it looked like there might be a rally in the making. But a fly out by Zobrist and strikeouts by Reid Brignac and Matt Joyce took all the steam out of that idea.
[image-1]The Rays had chances against Lee but when you let a pitcher of his caliber off the hook like they did in the first inning, he is not going to let you get him on the ropes again. Game 2, and perhaps the balance of Tampa Bays postseason aspirations, now rests in the unsure hands of James Shields. Im not trying to get on the bandwagon of dogging Jimmy, because the rest of the sports media have done too good of a job of that lately. I just want to know which James Shields is going to show up; will it be the gritty warrior who gutted the New York Yankees for 11 strikeouts August 1 or the struggling starter who couldnt make it out of the fifth inning September 4 against the Baltimore Orioles? Check out Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series at 2:30 p.m. Thursday and we can find out together.
2B: Francoeur (1, Price), Guerrero (1, Price).
HR: Cruz, N (1, 3rd inning off Price, 0 on, 2 out), Molina, B (1, 4th inning off Price, 0 on, 2 out).
RBI: Francoeur (1), Molina, B 2 (2), Cruz, N (1), Guerrero (1).
Team RISP: 2-for-7.
Team LOB: 5.
|a-Singled for Bartlett in the 8th. b-Walked for Baldelli in the 9th. c-Struck out for Rodriguez, S in the 9th.
2B: Zobrist (1, Lee, Cl).
HR: Zobrist (1, 7th inning off Lee, Cl, 0 on, 1 out).
RBI: Zobrist (1).
Team RISP: 1-for-10.
Team LOB: 8.
|Team ER: off Texas 1, off Tampa Bay 4.
BB: off Feliz, N 2 (Pena, C, Johnson, D).
SO: by Lee, Cl 10 (Upton, B, Pena, C, Baldelli, Shoppach, Bartlett, Pena, C, Baldelli, Rodriguez, S, Longoria, Pena, C), O'Day 1 (Upton, B), Feliz, N 2 (Brignac, R, Joyce), by Price 8 (Cantu, Young, M, Hamilton, Francoeur, Cantu, Cruz, N, Kinsler, Cantu).
Pitches-strikes: Lee, Cl 104-76, O'Day 7-6, Oliver 6-4, Feliz, N 20-12, Price 107-77, Qualls 18-12, Balfour 7-5.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media; Copyright by MLB Office of the Commissioner