Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Texas Rangers win using familiar style of play

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria can’t reach an errant throw from catcher Kelly Shoppach as Nelson Cruz steals third base in the fourth inning. Cruz broke for home after the throwing error and scored to put the Rangers ahead 2-1.


Rays third baseman Evan Longoria can’t reach an errant throw from catcher Kelly Shoppach as Nelson Cruz steals third base in the fourth inning. Cruz broke for home after the throwing error and scored to put the Rangers ahead 2-1.

ST. PETERSBURG — The winning formula for Tuesday night's ALDS Game 5 was one that looked familiar to what Rays fans have seen all season at Tropicana Field.

There was dominant starting pitching. There was solid defense. There was aggressive baserunning, timely hitting and making the most of every scoring opportunity.

Sound familiar?

But here's the slap in the face to the Rays and their fans. It wasn't the home team that played like that — it was the visiting Rangers.

The Rangers beat the Rays playing Rays baseball, and it started with the first hitter.

After Elvis Andrus singled, he stole second. He then scored from second on a groundout. Andrus never stopped running on Josh Hamilton's grounder as first baseman Carlos Peña flipped the ball to pitcher David Price covering the bag. By the time Price turned around, Andrus had scored.

"That play set the tone for the rest of the game," Hamilton said. "And it kind of put them on their heels a little bit."

In the fourth inning, after the Rays tied it 1-1, Nelson Cruz doubled to deep left-centerfield then stole third on the next pitch. Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach's errant throw went past third baseman Evan Longoria and into leftfield, allowing Cruz to score and give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

"I just didn't make a good throw," Shoppach said. "I got locked in on Longo running and not the base. Cruz was right out in front of me, and I saw him a long time. I was trying to make a play and didn't."

The backbreaker came in the sixth inning, when Ian Kinsler's sharp grounder to first with runners on first and second and one out appeared to be a double-play ball. But Price, covering first, missed the bag after taking the throw from second. Vladimir Guerrero, the runner on second, circled third and sneaked home in front of Shoppach's late tag.

"I could have gotten there a little bit quicker," Price said. "I thought that ball was to the second baseman. I thought it was a lot further to the line than that. Then I saw (Peña) had it. Then I got over."

Price said he couldn't hear anyone yell that Guerrero was heading home.

"It was a great atmosphere," Price said. "I couldn't hear anybody yelling at me. That second one I probably should have controlled."

Even 225-pound catcher Bengie Molina, 36, who had three steals in his 12 seasons, got into the act with a stolen base in the third.

"You really have to tip your hat to the guys who are running," Longoria said. "They played heads-up and took advantage of that little lapse of concentration."

Said Rangers rightfielder Jeff Francoeur: "They are usually the ones taking the extra bases. We had a meeting before the game and said how rarely you win games by just hitting the long ball. Our plan was to steal bases, be aggressive, make them make mistakes, and when you have one of the best guys in the world on the mound, it makes things easier."

Ace Cliff Lee continued his postseason mastery with strong performances in his two starts (Games 1 and 5) at Tropicana Field. On Tuesday, he pitched a complete game, allowing one run on six hits with 11 strikeouts. In the two games, Lee was 2-0 with 21 strikeouts (an ALDS record) and no walks, while allowing only two runs on 11 hits in 16 innings. He is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven postseason starts.

"He was as big as you get," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We needed Cliff Lee to do what he did."

Because Lee did what he did, the Rangers won the first postseason series in franchise history. They are headed to their first championship series, the last AL team to do so.

"Doesn't matter where you win them," Washington said. "We just happened to win them here."

And he said his team's ability to take advantage wasn't a surprise.

"You got a chance to see what the Texas Rangers can do," he said. "We didn't steal a page from anyone. That's the way we play. You just haven't seen it until (Tuesday night). We run the bases; we steal bags. We have a very aggressive team, and (Tuesday night) we took advantage of some things."

In the end, the Rangers played Rays baseball, and because of it, they took Game 5 and all three games in the series at Tropicana Field. You could even say they looked right at home.

.Fast facts

In control

Cliff Lee struck out 10-plus and walked none for the fourth time in his postseason career, which is amazing considering it has happened only four other times in postseason history:


Cliff Lee4

Tom Seaver1

Deacon Phillippe1

Don Newcombe1

Sterling Hitchcock1


Texas Rangers win using familiar style of play 10/12/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.