Once again, Rangers handle the Rays

by Gary Shelton on June 5, 2021

in general

Brandon Lowe had a good at bat and a bad one./CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

In the age of information, somehow, the word has yet to get out.

Despite the internet, despite the 24-hour news networks, despite word of mouth, word hasn't reached the Tampa Bay Rays that the Texas Rangers are, technically, a very bad baseball team.

On the other hand, evidently the Rangers haven't heard that the Rays are pretty good.

The Rangers beat the Rays for the fourth straight time -- and their sixth time in the last seven games -- in Arlington on Friday night. The Rangers held on to win 5-4, but it was 5-0 going into the eighth inning.

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Who might have expected this? The Rangers had lost nine straight games and were the second-worst team in the American League (last in the AL West). The Rays were coming off a huge win over New York and had the best record in the American League.

"I’m not going to sit here and say they got lucky," said outfielder Brett Phillips. "This is the big league. Every team is good. Every team can beat any other on any given night. We have to play them like we play the Yankees or the Red Sox. "

The Rays scored all of their runs in their last two at-bats. Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer to bring the Rays to within 5-2, and Phillips' two-run single in the ninth made it a one-run game. But with the tying run on third base, Lowe struck out on three pitches against reliever Ian Kennedy.

"That’s what this team does," Cash said. "They play for nine. They put pressure on whatever pitcher is in the game at that point."

Starter Kyle Gibson handled the Rays in the first 5 1/3 innings of the game, giving up just five hits and not allowing a run.

Meanwhile, Josh Fleming started well for the Rays but ran into trouble. In the fourth inning, he gave up three runs on five hits. He ended up going seven innings and allowing five earned runs and 10 hits.

"You’ve got to give credit to the Rangers," Cash said. "They had a good approach. The made a good adjustment. I’m sure there were a couple of pitches we’d like to have back, But Flem does his thing and competes really well. They just pieced together some good innings where they were able to capitalize with guys on base."

Said Fleming: 'I just got hit around. Just an off night. They just found the holes. Hit where we weren't. A lot of singles. They were finding the holes. I've got to do a better job at getting my pitches down. I was in the zone a little too much with two strikes."

The Rays play the Rangers again today at 4:05 p.m. in Arlington. Rich Hill will pitch for the Rays against Kolby Allard.

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