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ARLINGTON, Texas – Jonathan Papelbon thought he had induced a double-play grounder to clinch a victory for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Papelbon instead watched Leonys Martin's single roll through the drawn-in infield to drive home the tying run. The right-hander then walked consecutive batters, including a game-ending pass to Shin-Soo Choo, as the Texas Rangers rallied in the ninth inning for the second night in a row, winning 4-3 Wednesday night.
"The whole inning was kind of just one of those innings," Papelbon said. "You get a cue ball down the third base line. Then you get a double play ball, which you think is the game-ending double play. It's not."
Texas scored three runs as Papelbon (0-1) allowed four hits and two walks while getting only one out.
Adrian Beltre, whose ninth-inning single Tuesday night drove home Choo with the winning run, started this rally with a leadoff single. After Mitch Moreland's double, pinch-hitter Jim Adduci had an RBI infield single that rolled down the line before Martin's hit. Donnie Murphy walked on four pitches before Choo got to a full count before walking.
"Tough way to lose," manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer and Kyle Kendrick allowed only one run over seven innings, but Philly still hasn't won a road series since Sandberg took over as manager last August — first on an interim bases before getting the full-time gig.
The Phillies lost 24 of 32 games over their final 10 road series last season. They split four games against the New York Mets last August in Sandberg's first series on the road — but had dropped the previous five series away from home, and then lost the last four. They won this year's season opener 14-10 before consecutive ninth-inning losses.
"The guys competed for the three games and could have come out differently this time around," Sandberg said. "A lot of good stuff on the offensive side, and that was something that was missing in the spring."
Seth Rosin (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for his first major league victory.
Moreland had a triple in the seventh and scored on Martin's two-out single.
"It's a nice way to start the season," Moreland said. "We really came together these last couple of games."
Kendrick struck out four and allowed one run, but is still winless his last eight starts. The right-hander went 0-5 over his final seven starts last season, when the Phillies scored a combined two run behind him in those losses.
"Obviously, this is a disappointment," Papelbon said. "I thought Kendrick pitched well enough to deserve that win, and unfortunately the bullpen wasn't able to preserve it for him. But it's a long season. I think that's one of the stronger points of my game is being able to bounce back and not have any memory of the previous game good or bad."
Texas left-hander Robbie Ross struck out seven over five innings in his first major league start after 123 relief appearances the past two seasons. He allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks.
Howard's homer made it 3-0 in the third. It was his first homer since July 5, when he went deep in his final game last season before going onto the disabled list because of left knee inflammation.
After Philly got an unearned run in the first after center fielder Martin bobbled the ball for an error, Texas failed to score in the bottom of the inning after two hits and two errors by the Phillies. Choo got caught in a rundown and tagged out between third base and home after Kendrick initially dropped a grounder.
NOTES: The Phillies were a player short after SS Jimmy Rollins returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. ... Both teams are off Thursday before road games Friday. The Phillies play the Chicago Cubs for the opener marking the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, and the Rangers are at Tampa Bay.