Rays lose playoff opener 5-1; Longoria calls Game 2 "a must win"
UPDATE, 6:05: 3B Evan Longoria said he thought the Rays were a little tight in today's loss, but then he put the pressure on his team for Game 2 tomorrow. “This is a must win,'' Longoria said. "It’s tough to win on the road, let alone being in a playoff atmosphere and winning on the road. So tomorrow is the biggest game of the year.’’ ... Also, 1B Carlos Pena said the controversial 2-1 pitch from Cliff Lee in the first inning nicked him on the hand, and that when he pointed it out to umpire Tim Welke, Welke instead called it a foul ball. Pena said he felt if he hadn't said anything to Welke, it would have been called ball 3, and that it was a big momentum shift in the game.
DEVELOPING: The Rays didn't get off to a good start in the AL playoffs, losing 5-1 to Texas in the opener of the best-of-five division series.
Game 2 is Thursday afternoon, with struggling RHP James Shields on the mound against Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson.
Ace LHP David Price had a rough start for the Rays, allowing the five runs (four earned) on nine hits, including home runs by Nelson Cruz and No. 9 hitter Bengie Molina.
The Rays had prime scoring opportunities early against Rangers ace Cliff Lee, but failed in the first, with Carlos Pena (after a controversial strike two call) and Rocco Baldelli striking out after they loaded the bases with one out; and again in the second, when Ben Zobrist led off with a double and Kelly Shoppach, Sean Rodriguez and Jason Bartlett all made outs.
The Rays had a brief shot in the ninth when Pena and Dan Johnson drew walks off rookie closer Neftali Feliz, but Zobrist lined out, Reid Brignac struck out and Matt Joyce also did.
Tropicana Field was packed with a sellout crowd of 35,474.