Rangers 12, Devil Rays 9
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—The Texas Rangers put on the kind of offensive display that manager Ron Washington had been anticipating since he took the job in the off-season.
Kenny Lofton reached base five times, going 3-for-3 with a homer, three runs scored and three RBIs. Catalanotto went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and Ian Kinsler also homered for the Rangers, who reached .500 (4-4) for the first time this season.
The Rangers scored a total of nine runs in their first four contests, but have put up eight or more in three of their last four games.
“We took advantage of the opportunties we had with their pitchers struggling,” Washington said. “We put runs on the board and we needed every run we got. … I guess this is the way they do it in Texas.”
Lofton and Catalanotto provided the spark at the top of the order. Entering the game, they had combined to start the season at 5-for-44, but they broke out of their slumps together.
“Kenny and I feel that we need to get going to jump start this offense,” Catalanotto said. “We hadn’t been doing that. If we start getting on base, those guys will drive us in.”
Scott Feldman (1-0) threw 2 1-3 innings of two-hit shutout relief for his first major league victory.
Devil Rays starter Jae Seo (0-1) gave up 10 runs—five earned—and eight hits in three innings.
“It’s still early, but it doesn’t look good now,” Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford said. “Hopefully it will change in the future. It was sloppy, a lot of things were happening, and then all of a sudden we were losing by a lot of runs.”
Lofton, who began the night with a .115 average, led off the first with a homer for the 29th time in his career, aided by an 18 mph wind blowing out to right. Texas made it 3-0 in the second on Kinsler’s two-run shot.
“It was a West Texas kind of game. It could have been Midland vs. Tulsa,” said Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon, who managed Midland of the Texas League for two seasons in the mid-’80s. “Fly balls were flying out. It’s a different kind of baseball when the wind kicks up like that.”
The Devil Rays knocked around Texas starter Jamey Wright, in his Rangers debut, for five runs and five hits over 2 2-3 innings.
Wright gave up only a leadoff walk in the first two innings, but the Devil Rays came back with a five-run third capped by Wigginton’s three-run blast.
After Young followed Wigginton’s homer with a two-out single, Washington brought in Feldman, who retired Akinori Iwamura on a groundout to end the inning.
The 32-year-old Wright was a non-roster invitee to spring training after compiling a 6-10 record and 5.19 ERA in 34 games for the San Francisco Giants last season. Wright had a solid spring training for the Rangers to win the job as the No. 5 starter, but flopped in his first outing of the season.
“I got in a groove those first couple of innings,” Wright said. “Then I gave up three extra base hits in four pitches. I kept throwing fastballs right in the zone and they hit it.”
Brad Wilkerson’s two-run single in the third tied the score at 5 to get Wright off the hook.
Gerald Laird followed with a fly ball that was dropped for an error by Young, and two batters later, Lofton’s two-run single put Texas in front 7-5.
Catalanotto’s three-run shot extended the lead to 10-5.
“When we put five up there, we should have been able to put up a zero,” Maddon said. “But it was a tough night to pitch. Our offense was good but our defense made a couple of mistakes and you’ve got to pitch to win.”
To make room for Wright, the Rangers optioned RHP Mike Wood to Triple-A Oklahoma and designated LHP Daniel Haigwood for assignment. …Rangers C Gerald Laird threw out Crawford attempting to steal second twice in the first three innings. Crawford had never been caught stealing twice in a game. …A total of 75 pitches were thrown in the third.