ARLINGTON, Texas - The Tampa Bay Rays avoided a sweep Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Texas Rangers 2-0 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Tampa Bay starting pitcher Matt Moore (2-0) pitched through the second-coldest game ever at Rangers Ballpark, throwing 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. The 39 degree start was the coldest day time start for Texas, and was just a degree from tying the 38 degree first-pitch against Boston in 2007.
Moore showed good command of his pitches following a 90-minute rain delay. The left-hander went 5 1/3 without allowing a hit before Craig Gentry sent a one-out single to right field. Moore finished with less than half of his 106 pitches going for strikes, but walked just four and gave up just the one hit.
Tampa took advantage of Holland's lack of ability to find the strike zone in the third to push its first run across the plate. Holland walked the bases loaded and gave up a run on a sharply hit ground ball to Adrian Beltre. The Rangers failed to convert on the double play, allowing Kelly Johnson to score from third.
Desmond Jennings opened up the fifth inning with a lead-off double to right-center field. Jennings scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly.
Texas appeared to grab a run back in the sixth with the bases loaded. Following Moore's departure, a single and a walk loaded the bases for the Rangers, bringing Mitch Moreland to the plate. The first basemen sent a grounder to second, but Moreland beat the throw out at first. However, second base umpire Marty Foster ruled that Rangers runner Jeff Baker left the base path.
Foster was the umpire who made the questionable strike-three call to end Monday's series opener.
The Rangers threatened with runners on second and third with one out in the eighth. Beltre reached on a hit to right and David Murphy notched the first Rangers double of the game with a liner down the right field line. Leonys Martin pinch-hit for Baker, sending the second pitch high to right field and Beltre attempted to tag at third. Ben Zobrist made the catch, and put a liner to home, with catcher Joe Lobaton tagging Beltre out at the plate.
Moore gave way to three relievers: Cesar Ramos, Jake McGee and Joel Peralta. The trio pitched a combined 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run to set up Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney. Rodney allowed the first Ranger to reach on a single, but retired three consecutive batters to end the game.
Tampa Bay has a day off before traveling to Boston for an American League East Division clash with the Red Sox. Texas travels to face Seattle on Thursday.