Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 8/21)

Game 1: Monday, August 21
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Game 2: Tuesday, August 22
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Game 3: Wednesday, August 23
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Game 4: Thursday, August 24
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Rangers 3

(65-61, 34-30 away)

Devil Rays 4

(50-75, 32-30 home)

    7:15 PM ET, August 21, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    TEX 002010000 3 9 1
    TB 02011000 - 4 14 0

    W: J. Shields (6-6)

    L: A. Eaton (3-3)

    S: S. McClung (1)

    Rays' bullpen protects Shields' win over Rangers

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Devil Rays' struggling bullpen came through in a big way.

    Brian Meadows and Seth McClung combined for three scoreless innings, getting James Shields his second straight win as Tampa Bay beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 on Monday night.

    Meadows, who had given up 16 runs over his previous 10 1/3 innings, followed Shields with two scoreless innings. McClung finished for his first major league save.

    "That's the beauty of being in the bullpen," Meadows said. "You have a couple bad outings and you know you're going to be right back in there and get a chance to have a good one. It felt good to walk off and shake hands for a change."

    McClung was sent to the minors to be converted from a starter to a closer on June 20 after going 2-10. The right-hander, who rejoined the team Aug. 3, made the most of his first save opportunity.

    "The guys played real well," McClung said. "I just wanted to out there and get three outs as quick as you can ... not mess up what the rest of the team had done."

    The Devil Rays' bullpen entered with a 5.19 ERA. Tampa Bay has lost 12 times when ahead after six innings this season.

    Shields (6-6) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. After winning four straight starts in June, he went 0-6 in nine starts, then ended his skid by defeating Toronto on Aug. 16.

    In Texas manager Buck Showalter's first game following a four-game suspension, Hank Blalock homered and had three RBI for the Rangers, whose three-game winning streak was stopped.

    "No one in this locker room is taking Tampa lightly," Showalter said. "We won three of four on the road in Detroit, and we're going to try and win three of four here."

    Showalter served his suspension following two days of trouble last week between the Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels.

    "I feel like I managed every pitch the last four days anyway," said Showalter, who watched the Detroit series from the manager's office.

    Adam Eaton (3-3) allowed four runs and 11 hits in five innings.

    "My assessment of my performance: not very good," Eaton said. "All their runs were scored with two outs. It's a real frustrating feeling."

    Damon Hollins hit an RBI single and Tomas Perez, in an 2-for-27 slide, had a run-scoring double to put Tampa Bay ahead 2-0 in the second. Blalock's 15th homer tied the score in the third, but B.J. Upton gave the Devil Rays a 3-2 lead on an RBI single in the fourth.

    Blalock got the Rangers even with his second two-out RBI hit of the game, a run-scoring single in the fifth. He has driven in 37 runs this season with two outs.

    Russell Branyan singled with two outs in the bottom half. He has 34 hits this season: 12 singles, 10 doubles and 12 homers.

    Game notes


    Devil Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer said he would like to return next season, which would be his 59th in baseball. "The Devil Rays have been good to me," said Zimmer, who lives about 7 miles from Tropicana Field. "The job that I have, you couldn't ask for nothing better at the age of 75." ... The Rangers recalled RHP Nick Masset from Triple-A Oklahoma. They also optioned LHP John Koronka to Oklahoma. ... Upton (strained left shoulder) and 1B Greg Norton (sore left hamstring) both returned to the lineup. Norton set a career-high for hits by going 4-for-4. ... Tampa Bay released RHP Chad Harville, who had been designated for assignment on Aug. 16. ... The Rangers' bullpen has throw 18 consecutive scoreless innings, including three on Monday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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