Elvis Andrus narrowly missed what could have been a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning. Instead, he flew out to center field on the 11th pitch he saw from Tampa Bay reliever Wade Davis.
The Rangers never got that hit they needed and suffered their worst loss of the season, an 8-4 loss to open a three-game series against their opponent from the past two American League Division Series.
Andrus said he thought his eventual foul ball had a chance to stay fair when he lofted it down the right-field line. It curled foul at the end, though.
“I haven’t gotten that extra luck you want as a hitter,” Andrus said.
Here are other notes from Friday’s loss:
* The Rangers had uncharacteristic mistakes on the night. Ian Kinsler had a fielding error in the first inning on what could have been a double play ball by Carlos Pena. It proved costly, as the next batter – Evan Longoria – sent a three-run home run over the center field fence.
In the bottom of the first, Kinsler and Andrus led off with hits and had runners at first and third with no outs. But Andrus was picked off at first by James Shields with Josh Hamilton up.
In the eighth, Nelson Cruz led off with a bloop single and the Rangers loaded the bases with one out. Rays reliever Wade Davis uncorked a wild pitch, but Cruz got a late jump to the plate and was thrown out.
* Matt Harrison entered the game having allowed four runs combined in his first three starts. But the Rays scored four off him in the first, and he would go on to give up seven runs (six earned) on 14 hits. The 14 hits were the most he’s allowed in a game, and ties a franchise record.
* Josh Hamilton belted his ninth home run, a two-run shot in the fifth. The nine home runs for the month of April match a franchise record.
* The Rangers announced a sellout crowd of 47,496. That’s the fourth consecutive sellout, matching a franchise record. The team will set a new franchise mark on Saturday, as that game has been sold out.
-- Drew Davison