photo credit: Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images
Lefty Matt Moore struggled as Tampa Bay fell back into a tie with the Texas Rangers Thursday.
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
The Tampa Bay Rays found themselves at the end of this four-game series with the Texas Rangers exactly where they were at the beginning: tied.
Texas hit three home runs off Matt Moore, who couldn't make it into the fifth inning, and salvaged a split with Tampa Bay with an 8-2 victory in Thursday's finale.
The Rangers started in the first by Elvis Andrus reaching on a fielding error from Yunel Escobar with one out. Andrus then advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Alex Rios.
Tampa Bay actually took the lead in the bottom of the first, as David DeJesus was hit by a Yu Darvish pitch to start the frame. Ben Zobrist flew out and Matt Joyce struck out, but Evan Longoria drew a two-out walk to move DeJesus into scoring position, and James Loney doubled him in to tie the game. Back-to-back-walks to Kelly Johnson and Desmond Jennings then brought in a second run to make it a 2-1 Rays lead.
Texas regained the lead for good in the third inning, as in the span of four batters, Mitch Moreland, Andrus, and Rios all went deep off Moore (15-4).
The Rangers would get two more runs off Moore in the fourth inning, as Craig Gentry singled to start the inning and stole second three batters later. Ian Kinsler then walked and both runners then stole the next base. Andrus then reached on an infield single, which scored both runners.
Texas added an RBI single by Gentry in the seventh, and a solo homer by Geovany Soto in the ninth to set the score.
Tim Beckham, the top-overall pick from 2008, also made his big-league debut, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning. The 23-year-old singled to right for his first hit, but was erased as part of a double play.
The loss put the Rays and Rangers tied for the Wild Card spots, though Texas now owns the tiebreaker, taking the season series 4-3.
The Baltimore Orioles will come in to Tropicana Field for four games starting Friday, with David Price (8-8, 3.42 ERA) taking on Jason Hammel (7-8 5.12 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10, with coverage on 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM starting at 7:00.