Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Sean Rodriguez, top, holds the ball after getting the force on Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton at second on a single by Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 29, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Monday, April 30, 2012 1:13 am
Hamilton leaves with back spasms, Rangers lose
The Associated Press
David Price beat Texas for the first time in 10 career starts and the Tampa Bay Rays won 5-2 Sunday night, making them the first team to take a series from the Rangers this year.
Texas played most of the game without Hamilton, the American League leader in home runs and RBIs. He left in the third inning with back spasms and is day to day.
"It's no big deal," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, ejected on his 60th birthday. "We'll see (Monday night in Toronto). If he feels better, he'll be out there. If not, we'll give him another day."
Hamilton was injured while getting his 25th RBI on a single to center in the first that scored Elvis Andrus.
The outfielder winced as he ran back to the dugout after being forced out on Adrian Beltre's grounder. He was slow to come out on the field for the start of the second inning and stayed in the dugout in the third.
Price (4-1) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking one. The two-time All-Star entered 0-6 with a 5.30 ERA against the Rangers - including a pair of playoff starts.
"He had his A game tonight, and he's capable of doing that," Washington said. "In the past when we faced him, he had his A game for a few innings, and he had a bad inning that we took advantage of. Tonight, we couldn't sustain anything against him."
Ben Zobrist had three hits and an RBI, and Price earned his fourth victory in five starts. Tampa Bay touched up Texas lefty Derek Holland (2-2) for five extra-base hits.
Holland allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings, striking out eight. He walked Carlos Pena to start the third and gave up a run-scoring double to Zobrist.
"I caught too much plate with all my pitches," Holland said. "Everything was down the middle. Obviously, at the major league level, they're going to take care of you."
Fernando Rodney loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, then jammed Ian Kinsler on a soft liner back to the mound for his seventh save.
Price was able to work his fastball in and out and keep the league's best-hitting club off balance with an effective changeup.
"They've got power 1 through 9," Price said. "They can hit the ball out to any part of the ballpark here. You've got to be able to make pitches and keep the ball down."
Tampa Bay took two of three in Texas, marking the first loss in seven series this season for the Rangers, who entered the game 13-1-1 in their last 15 series at home. They had won a team-record 12 consecutive series dating to last season.
Hamilton's departure left a hole in the lineup. The Rangers put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth but managed to score only Yorvit Torrealba on Andrus' groundout to second. David Murphy, who replaced Hamilton, struck out to end the threat.
Murphy fanned three times in three at-bats, including twice against Price. The left-hander was coming off a 5-0 shutout against the Los Angeles Angels last week.
"David probably was not as sharp as the last game, but nevertheless very effective," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought he pitched with a lot of composure."
Zobrist, who was 3 for 4 with a double and a triple, was one of five Rays with RBIs. Jeff Keppinger, Luke Scott, Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings - whose triple in the seventh scored the team's fifth run - all had run-producing hits against Holland, who turned in his second straight ineffective start.
Tampa Bay knocked around the left-hander for six hits - four for extra bases - and four runs in the second and third.
Zobrist led off the second with a triple and was followed by run-scoring hits from Keppinger and Scott and a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez that scored B.J. Upton.
NOTES: Washington was ejected at the end of the seventh by plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing a called third strike on Kinsler. ... Andrus reached base for the 18th consecutive game with a walk in the first. ... Texas DH Michael Young is 3 for 23 in his last six games. ... Japanese media covering the Rangers and pitcher Yu Darvish presented Washington with a cake for his 60th birthday, a significant year in Japanese culture that also called for a Kanreki celebration, in which the birthday celebrant dons a red vest and a flat red hat that resembles a chef's hat.