Arlington, TX – David Price went 6 1/3 innings, Ben Zobrist was a home run shy of the cycle and the Rays downed the Rangers, 5-2, on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.
Price (4-1) allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six to earn the win. Fernando Rodney got Ian Kinsler to line out with the bases loaded in the ninth to pick up his seventh save of the season.
Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, Jeff Keppinger, Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez all had an RBI for Tampa Bay, which has won nine of its last 11 games, including two of three in this series.
"The Rangers are really good but I think the Rays are too," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.
Derek Holland (2-2) allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out eight over seven innings to suffer the loss.
Josh Hamilton had an RBI single before leaving in the third inning with a stiff back. Manager Ron Washington, who turned 60 today, was ejected in the seventh for arguing with home plate umpire Dan Bellino.
The Rangers lost their first series of the season. They had won 12 straight regular-season series dating back to last year.
As rain began to fall, Rodney commenced the bottom of the ninth by retiring Michael Young. But he allowed a single to Nelson Cruz before hitting Mike Napoli. After Yorvit Torrealba went down on strikes, Mitch Morleland tapped a slow roller towards the mound. Rodney charged to his right, but could not field the ball cleanly, allowing the Rangers to load the bases. He recovered by snaring Kinsler's soft liner for the final out.
In the first, Elvis Andrus walked with one down and then stole second. Hamilton drove him in with a single, but slid into second on a fielder's choice later in the inning and held his back as he walked towards the dugout.
"I've had it happen before," Hamilton said of the back stiffness. "Very rarely, but it has happened before. It usually takes about 12 hours and then it releases so I don't expect it to effect anything tomorrow."
The Rays responded with a three-run second. Zobrist led off with a triple and scored on Keppinger's base hit to right before B.J Upton and Scott hit back-to-back doubles. Upton's placed runners at the corners and Scott's plated Keppinger. Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 advantage.
Hamilton was replaced by David Murphy at the start of the third inning, which saw Tampa Bay increase its lead when Zobrist doubled home Carlos Pena. Later in the frame, Upton slapped a two-out single to right but Cruz threw Zobrist out at the plate to retire the side.
Texas wasted a pair of two-out singles by Young and Cruz in the fourth, but Torrealba scored an inning later on Andrus' RBI groundout. Torrealba led off with a single, moved to second on Craig Gentry's base hit and third on Kinsler's groundout. Gentry was stranded at third when Murphy struck out to end the frame.
Jennings' RBI triple in the seventh capped the scoring.
Price earned his first career win against the Rangers. He improved to 1-6 all- time against Texas in 11 starts...The Rays have won five straight series finales.