ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A forlorn Cesar Ramos slumped in a chair in the visitors’ clubhouse on Tuesday night.
Ramos had just walked Adam Rosales on four pitches with two outs in the 14th inning to force in the winning run and the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2.
Ramos (2-5), the Rays’ seventh pitcher, gave up an unearned run, with pinch-running pitcher Nick Martinez scoring.
“That’s just unacceptable on my part,” Ramos said. “I’d rather give up a hit than give a guy a free base. Especially to do it on four pitches. It’s pretty embarrassing.”
Added Rays manager Joe Maddon: “Just throw a strike there. Give us a chance.”
Geovany Soto reached on third baseman Evan Longoria’s error with one out in the 14th. Martinez entered and advanced on singles by Rougned Odor and Shin-soo Choo.
“I just kind of went off Elvis’ (Andrus) at-bat,” Rosales said. “He really didn’t give Elvis too many good pitches to hit, so I figured `You’ve got to be really patient with this guy.'”
Texas’ sixth pitcher, Scott Baker (1-3) earned the victory with two scoreless innings. The Rangers had lost all 20 games in which he appeared before Tuesday.
Texas’ pitchers allowed no walks and only six hits.
“(After the 10th), it looked like guys were trying to hit homers,” Maddon said. “There were pitchers up there they felt pretty good against and they had some good swings. We were challenged offensively.”
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch allowed no hits until Sean Rodriguez singled to lead off the fifth inning.
Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce tripled and scored for the Rays’ two runs in the sixth.
Texas tied the score 2-all in the seventh against reliever Joel Peralta. Odor’s sacrifice fly and a double by Choo drove in the runs.
Rays right fielder Kevin Kiermaier then threw out Choo trying to score on Andrus’ single.
Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson pitched six scoreless innings, allowing six hits. He preserved the Rays’ 2-0 lead in the sixth after Texas put runners on second and third with one out.
Maddon pointed out that Tampa Bay has allowed three or fewer runs in the last 16 road games. But after winning the first eight of those games, the Rays are just 4-4 since on their current trip.
He said, “We did so many things well – pitched great – but we just could not get a hit.”
Rays: Kiermaier, who left Monday’s game because of tightness in his left lower back, returned to the lineup.
Rangers: RF Alex Rios (sprained right ankle) wasn’t in the lineup for the second consecutive game, but pinch-hit in the 13th inning. RHP Tanner Scheppers, out for the season with an inflamed elbow, said he would be a reliever next year.
The teams will play the third game of a four-game set Wednesday night.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (7-6, 3.33) hasn’t pitched in Arlington, and is 0-0 with a 2.77 career starts against Texas.
Rangers: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-4), who has lowered his ERA from 10.05 to 6.57 in his last four starts, will face the Rays for the first time.
Maddon used a five-man infield with the bases loaded and one out in the 14th. SS Yunel Escobar replaced LF Brandon Guyer. After Andrus popped out, Ben Zobrist moved to LF.
The Rays won a fifth-inning challenge and lost one in the 10th. The Rangers challenged unsuccessfully in the bottom of the 10th.
First, Martin was called safe on a slide at second base, but after review he was out. In the 10th, the replay confirmed that Zobrist was out at first.
THE GRASSY KNOLL
Before the game, Maddon visited Dallas’ Sixth Floor Museum, devoted to the John F. Kennedy assassination. “It was totally a conspiracy,” he said, and went on to recommend “11/22/63,” Stephen King’s novel based on the tragedy.