ST. PETERSBURG -- Elvis Andrus is the bull that sees red whenever he plays against the Rays. Friday night, his RBI single in the 10th gave the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.The Rays (51-46) have now lost two in a row while the Rangers (46-50)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Elvis Andrus is the bull that sees red whenever he plays against the Rays. Friday night, his RBI single in the 10th gave the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (51-46) have now lost two in a row while the Rangers (46-50) snapped a season-high five-game losing streak.
Andrus entered the game hitting .571 against Rays pitching this season. He had a solo home run and a single in four at-bats when Rays reliever Brad Boxberger intentionally walked Shin-Soo Choo in the 10th with two outs and the potential go-ahead run at third to pitch to Andrus. Once again, Andrus came through, slamming a hot shot down the third-base line that Evan Longoria dove for and stopped, but he could not throw out Andrus, allowing the winning run to score.
"That was amazing," Andrus said. "That was a great game. Finally we put up some runs. We didn't do it early but they came when it counted. We're really happy with this win but we have to carried this momentum through tomorrow."
Andrus is now 11-for-19 against the Rays this year. In his career, he's 76-for-235 (.323) versus Tampa Bay, his second-best average against an AL team.
Early in the game, the crowd of 24,461 was treated to a marquee pitching matchup between Alex Cobb and Yu Darvish, which lived up to the pregame hype.
Cobb, who is in his walk year with the Rays, seems to keep getting better every outing. He allowed a solo home run to Andrus in the first then put the Rangers on lockdown for the next seven innings, but he allowed a two-run homer to Choo in the ninth that tied the game at 3 and left him with a no-decision. If the Rays weren't in playoff contention, Cobb would definitely be in play for teams hoping to bolster their starting pitching prior to Major League Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.
"Alex Cobb threw a tremendous game," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We had some really big hits with three solo home runs off a pitcher who everyone, I think at some point during that game, came back saying that was just electric stuff that Darvish was featuring."
• Cobb doomed by one mistake
Meanwhile, the Rangers have been mired in a slump that threatens their chances to remain in contention. With that scenario in place, Darvish is the object of desire for many contending teams. The right-hander's effort Friday night did nothing to diminish his value.
Darvish allowed five hits and a walk while striking out 12 in eight innings. He also had a career-high 28 swings and misses. But three of the five hits were solo home runs to Brad Miller, Corey Dickerson and Mallex Smith, which, ultimately sent him to a no-decision.
"Can't say enough about Yu Darvish tonight, and how he threw the baseball," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Committed to the fastball, four-seam fastball, getting it up. … Even though he did give up the three home runs, they were fastballs down to guys that put good swings on it. But tremendous performance by Yu."
• Darvish dominates Rays through 8
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Choo goes deep: The Rangers trailed 3-1 when Joey Gallo doubled off Cobb to start the ninth. Choo then stepped to the plate to bat against the Rays right-hander, who had handcuffed the Rangers all night. Cobb threw an 87.1-mph splitter on the first pitch. Choo connected and drove an opposite-field homer 382 feet to left to tie the score. Choo's barreled blast had an exit velocity of 105.5 mph with a 23-degree launch angle.
Twin killing: Pinch-hitter Steven Souza Jr. got the Rays going in the 10th when he singled to lead off the inning. Adeiny Hechavarria then attempted a bunt, but catcher Robinson Chirinos jumped on the bunt, threw to Andrus covering at second and the Rangers shortstop threw a strike to Gallo at first to complete the twin killing and thwart the Rays' hope for a last-minute rally.
"Great play by Robinson, always aware of the situation," Andrus said. "Like I said, a great game."
"There's going to be a lot of blame on him for sure, but that is completely unfair. I feel like I should be able to do a better job of making him look like he made the right decision there." -- Cobb, on why he didn't think Cash should get blamed for leaving him in to pitch the ninth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Andrus' hit against Boxberger in the 10th was the first hit the Rays right-hander has allowed this season, ending a streak of 10 consecutive hitless appearances, dating back to Sept. 25, 2016.
Rangers:Andrew Cashner (4-8, 3.58) starts for the Rangers as they take on the Rays at 6:10 p.m. CT on Satuday. Cashner has allowed just three earned runs over 13 2/3 innings in his last two starts and will make his first career appearance against the Rays.
Rays:Chris Archer (7-5, 3.91) gets the nod when the Rays host the Rangers Saturday in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. He has made 11 consecutive starts of at least six innings pitched, the longest such streak of his career.
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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Friday.