Mike Napoli belted a two-run home run, Colby Lewis turned in another terrific postseason outing and the Texas Rangers held on -- barely -- for a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, and will have a chance to close it out on Tuesday with Game 4 scheduled for 1:07 p.m. at Tropicana Field. The Rangers will start left-hander Matt Harrison, while the Rays will go with rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.
Trailing 1-0 and struggling to get anything going against Rays left-hander David Price, the Rangers broke through in the seventh.
Adrian Beltre led off with a single to left, his first hit of the series. Napoli followed with a seven-pitch at-bat, sending a 2-2 fastball over the left-field fence to give Texas a 2-1 lead.
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Price retired the next two before giving up a single to Craig Gentry, who went 2 for 3 with a walk. Rays reliever Brandon Gomes came in, and issued walks to both batters he faced. That brought up Josh Hamilton, who delivered a two-run single to right off J.P. Howell to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.
Tampa Bay had a chance to get back in it in the bottom half. Rangers left-hander Darren Oliver relieved Lewis, and gave up three consecutive one-out singles to Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist and Casey Kotchman.
With the bases loaded, the Rangers brought in Alexi Ogando. He did his job, holding the Rays to one run on a RBI groundout by pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez.
In the eighth, Rangers setup man Mike Adams gave up a leadoff home run to Desmond Jennings, who also went deep off Lewis in the fourth. He then issued a walk to B.J. Upton, but the Rangers caught Upton stealing second on a pitch out.
Adams didn’t get any better, issuing walks to Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce. The Rangers averted disaster, however, when Mike Gonzalez won the lefty-lefty battle against Damon, and Neftali Feliz struck out Zobrist.
Feliz finished off his four-out save with a scoreless ninth, ending the game with a 5-4-3 double play.
Lewis started strong, throwing three perfect innings the first time through the Rays lineup. He gave up a solo homer to Jennings in the fourth, but that was the only hit he allowed over six innings.
Price, who has never beaten the Rangers in his career, turned in a solid start, throwing six scoreless innings. But Texas eventually caught up to him in the seventh, and Tampa Bay couldn’t recover after that.