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Maddon goes to 'pen early, often to salvage finale at Texas

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia returns a shot against David Ferrer of Spain …

Usually, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't put more importance on any one game than another.

But it was obvious how crucial winning Wednesday's game was, and avoiding a sweep by Texas, as he had the bullpen warming in the third inning and pulled starter Alex Cobb in the fifth as an early 6-0 lead started to slip away.

Using six pitchers, Tampa Bay held on for an 8-4 win over the Rangers.

"The point was to keep the lead at all costs," Maddon said. "I wasn't comfortable with the way they were coming back. I didn't like the way it was setting up. Against a veteran club like that, I didn't want to take any chances."

Cobb, who threw 92 pitches, said he understood.

"We couldn't lose this game, especially coming out with a 6-0 lead in the first two innings," Cobb said. "You know we had to do whatever it took to win that game."

Maddon was concerned with how the lead was slipping away and how potent the Rangers can be in their ballpark.

Burke Badehop replaced Cobb and got the last out of the fifth inning, keeping the lead at 6-4. Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney followed with a scoreless inning apiece.
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