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

"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

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

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

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.