Jeff Banister: Rangers missed early chances in loss to Rays
Evan Longoria homered and drove in two runs Saturday, and Brad Miller’s base-clearing double in the seventh helped the Tampa Bay Rays pull away for an 8-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.
A.J. Griffin (5-3) allowed three runs, including homers to Luke Maile and Longoria, in 5 2/3 innings. The only support the Rangers gave him was a solo homer from Rougned Odor, though they missed two other chances against Jake Odorizzi. Nomar Mazara homered with two outs in the ninth.
Hitting: The Rangers missed two chances against Jake Odorizzi, and they proved costly. ... Elvis Andrus started the third with a double and was held at third as the next batter, Jurickson Profar, singled ahead off Ian Desmond, Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre. But each failed to bring home a run. ... Rougned Odor homered to start the fourth, trimming the Rays’ lead to 2-1. ... In the sixth, Beltre reached on an infield single with one out but was cut down at home to end the inning on Jonathan Lucroy’s double Right field Steven Souza Jr. dived for the ball, deflected it to center fielder Mikie Mahtook, and second baseman Tim Beckham’s relay throw home was in time.
Pitching: A.J. Griffin gave the Rangers a chance to win, allowing three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, but took a second straight loss. ... A one-out ground-rule double followed by an Evan Longoria single gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the first, and catcher Luke Maile made it 2-0 in the second with his first career homer. ... Griffin didn’t allow a run over the next three innings, thanks to catcher Jonathan Lucroy throwing out two base stealers, but Longoria homered with one out in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. ... Tampa Bay put the game away in the seventh against Keone Kela, who allowed four runs and recorded only two outs. The big blow was a three-run double by Brad Miller after a walk to Longoria.