ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers' playoff drive stalled in Florida.
Rocco Baldelli and Ben Zobrist hit consecutive sacrifice flies in the seventh inning, helping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Rangers 5-3 on Tuesday night.Michael Young hit a two-run single for the Rangers, who have lost the first two games of a four-game series against the Devil Rays. Texas is 6½ games behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics."Nobody likes to lose ballgames, no matter where it is," Texas center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. said. "I don't care if it's in Tampa Bay or Yankee Stadium or in Oakland. You've got two choices. You can spend the night mad about it, or you can make the
adjustments like we did in Detroit and come back out and do what you've got to do."Texas came to Tampa Bay after taking three of four at Detroit.Baldelli's flyball off Vicente Padilla (12-8) tied it at 3, and Zobrist drove in the go-ahead run on a drive to center. Travis Lee
extended lead to 5-3 with an eighth-inning homer off Ron Mahay.Shawn Camp (5-1) struck out two in a perfect seventh.Seth McClung earned his second save despite loading the bases in the ninth. McClung allowed back-to-back singles to Ian Kinsler and
Gerald Laird and then walked pinch-hitter Matt Stairs before retiring Young on a game-ending flyout."You're always nervous at the end," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You've got one of the best hitters, the guy who won the All-Star Game, up with the bases loaded, two outs in the ninth. I don't like that at all. I've always felt, if I was going to start a team, he might be the first player I'd pick, Michael Young."Texas went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position."We got our chances," Young said. "We just didn't get it done. I'm sure we'd like to get some of those at-bats back tonight."Scott Kazmir struck out eight in six innings, allowing three runs, four hits and one walk. It was his third start since missing almost three weeks with left shoulder inflammation, and he is
winless in six starts since a 2-0 two-hitter over Boston on July 3.The 22-year-old left-hander became the Devil Rays' career strikeout leader with 378, breaking the mark set by Victor Zambrano (372). Kazmir was acquired from the New York Mets for Zambrano in a four-player deal on July 30, 2004."A little bit ironic," Kazmir said. "I'm just grateful for the Devil Rays taking a chance on me with the trade and now giving me all this experience and being able to come up and learn at the major-league level."Padilla, making his first start after serving a five-game suspension for hitting Juan Rivera of the Los Angeles Angels with a pitch on Aug. 15, gave up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.Greg Norton also homered for the Devil Rays, who are 12-25 since the All-Star break.Young put the Rangers ahead with a two-run single in the third and made it 3-0 when he scored from second on Mark Teixeira's
infield single.Norton homered in the fourth, and Dioner Navarro's sixth-inning sacrifice fly cut the deficit to 3-2."Just a lot of good little moments for us tonight," Maddon said.
Devil Rays third baseman B.J. Upton was a late scratch because of left shoulder soreness. "I was a little sore, so I didn't want to push it," Upton said. "I should be ready for tomorrow." He had returned Monday after missing three games with a left shoulder strain. ... Texas outfielder Brad Wilkerson had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and should ready for spring training. ... Tampa Bay right-hander Jae Seo (left groin) may miss his scheduled start Friday. "I don't think he's 100 percent," Maddon said. A decision should be announced Wednesday. ... Charlotte (Fla.) County commissioners approved the concept of the Devil Rays relocating their spring training operations in 2009 to the old Charlotte County Stadium complex, which was the spring home of the Rangers from 1987 to 2002. A public hearing is to be held next month.