ARLINGTON, Texas -- Even during a long slump when they struggled to scratch out runs, the Texas Rangers never wavered in their mindset at the plate.
That steady approach is beginning to pay dividends.
Why David Price Lost
• Threw only 53 percent strikes with his fastball, well below the MLB average of 65 percent
• Only threw a strike within the first two pitches of an at-bat 58 percent of the time, well below the MLB average of 85 percent
• With a 2-0, 2-1 or 3-ball count, Price failed to record an out; the Rangers got five walks and two doubles in those counts, MLB pitchers on average get an out in 54 perecnt of those situations
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Andruw Jones homered and drove in four runs, Michael Young added a three-run double and the Rangers roughed up David Price to win their fourth in a row, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 12-4 Saturday night."We weren't swinging the way we're capable of," Young said. "But the best thing we can do is stay confident, stay the course, and keep working hard."Texas was next to last in the American League with 99 runs scored in June.The Rangers appear to have broken out of their offensive doldrums, scoring 33 runs in their winning streak.Texas, which came into the day tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the American League West lead, is 5-3 on a home stand that ends Sunday. The Rangers then visit the Angels for a three-game series starting Monday."It was a matter of time," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his squad scored its most runs since beating Oakland 14-1 on May 30. "Will this continue? I hope, but I know it won't. But we'll do enough to continue to win and that's all that matters."Nelson Cruz, who had three hits, connected for his 20th home run of the season in support of Derek Holland (2-5), who won for the first time as a starter. The rookie left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.Jones' three-run shot in the first and Young's bases-loaded double gave the Rangers a 6-1 lead against an erratic Price (2-3), who gave up a career-high six runs in 1 1/3 innings.The 2007 top overall pick walked five in the shortest of his nine career starts. Price has walked 30 in 38 innings this season.The Rays have lost three in a row, all to rookie pitchers. Toronto's Ricky Romero shut down Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Tommy Hunter earned his first career victory for the Rangers on Friday."I'm embarrassed," Price said. "I can't really put any words on it. I needed to stop the bleeding and I let us down."Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett hit a solo homer in the second and Dioner Navarro added a three-run shot in the fifth.After Navarro's homer, Holland retired six of the final seven batters he faced to pick up his first victory since winning in relief May 12.Holland made it a point to try to use some more of his pitches against the Rays."I have to have more than just a fastball," Holland said. "When you fall behind, you need your off-speed pitch as well."Price walked Young and Marlon Byrd with one out in the bottom of the first.Jones drove an 0-1 pitch into the Tampa Bay bullpen in left for his 10th home run of the season. He also had and RBI double in the sixth.The Rangers loaded the bases in the second on Taylor Teagarden's double, and walks to Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. Young doubled over B.J. Upton's head in right-center to drive home three.After walking Byrd, Tampa Bay took Price out of the game for reliever Lance Cormier."He just really struggled with his fastball command," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He could not throw the fastball where he wanted. That's the key to unlocking all his potential."Cruz homered in the fifth, and Teagarden added an RBI single to make it 9-4.
Rays and American League manager Maddon submitted his All-Star selections to the league office Saturday. "You're not going to please everybody," Maddon said. "There were so many close calls. But you have to make those calls." ... On the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's luckiest man speech, former Rangers first baseman Pete O'Brien recited an abbreviated version of Yankee great's words before the game. ... Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the first.