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Rangers 3, Rays 0

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Elvis Andrus' two-run home run in the eighth inning provided all the offense Texas would need in a dazzling pitchers' duel on Sunday as the Rangers downed the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 at Tropicana Field.

The Texas shortstop lined a 3-2 fastball into left-field stands off reliever Joel Peralta (0-1), scoring Shin-Soo Choo, who reached on a single off Peralta's glove with two out.

Texas (3-3) salvaged the final game of the three-game set while the Rays fell to 4-2.

Rangers ace Yu Darvish (1-0) showed no ill effects of missing the final weeks of spring training and his scheduled first regular season start with neck stiffness. The right-hander struck out five of the first eight batters, then wriggled out of trouble in the middle innings. Darvish allowed seven hits and a walk in seven innings with six strikeouts.

Rays right-hander Alex Cobb was sparkling, allowing just three singles and no runner past first in seven innings. The outing was a marked improvement from his first start, in which he surrendered four earned runs on five hits and four walks in a loss to Toronto.

Tampa Bay threatened by advancing runners into scoring position with one out or less in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, twice with the heart of the order due up. But the right-handed Darvish bore down each time.

The Rays nearly broke through against Darvish in the fifth inning after catcher Ryan Hanigan led off with a walk and David DeJesus hit a first-pitch, one-out double into the right-field corner. But right fielder Wil Myers popped out to first base and Darvish ended threat after inducing number three hitter Ben Zobrist to fly out. The Rays threatened again in the sixth after 3B Evan Longoria led off with a double, but Darvish retired the next three batters in succession.

Hanigan led off the seventh with a double, but Darvish escaped again by retiring three straight, winning a long duel with Myers. After falling behind in the count, 0-2, Myers prolonged the at-bat with check swings, but eventually was retired on a ground out to end the inning.

Tampa Bay threatened in the eighth against reliever Alexi Ogando when Zobrist singled and center fielder Desmond Jennings walked, but Neal Cotts entered to strike out fellow left-hander Matt Joyce and end the inning.

The Rangers added an unearned run in the ninth on 2B Donnie Murphy's RBI single against RHP Josh Lueke.

Reliever Joakim Soria earned his first save of the season.

NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria tied current Braves OF B.J. Upton in the franchise leaders list with his 202nd career double. OF Carl Crawford, now with the Dodgers, leads with 215. ... Texas optioned RHP Nick Martinez to Double-A Frisco to free a roster spot for Darvish. Martinez allowed three runs over six innings of a no-decision in his MLB debut on Saturday. ... The Rays have never started a season 5-2. ... Tampa Bay became the last team in baseball to commit an error. Seven games without an error to start a season would have been a club record. Longoria committed a throwing error in the ninth.
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