Rangers' eighth-inning rally too little, too late

Rangers' eighth-inning rally too little, too late

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers lost by six runs on Friday night. But a few more feet of carry on an eighth-inning fly ball by Adrian Beltre might have changed everything.

Beltre didn't get the carry and a potential grand slam turned into a sacrifice fly. The Rangers' last-ditch rally came up short and they lost to the Rays, 8-2, on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

The loss ended their four-game winning streak.

"We were in a bases-loaded situation with no outs and came up a little short," manager Jeff Banister said. "Our guys continue to battle. They feel they are in position no matter what the score is. We just didn't put too much on the board."

Beltre's sac fly

The Rangers trailed 5-0 going into the eighth and had managed just two singles off of Rays starter Nathan Karns. Adam Rosales broke up the shutout by leading off the inning with his second home run of the season.

When Delino DeShields followed with a single to center, Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in left-hander Xavier Cedeno. But Shin-Soo Choo singled to center and Elvis Andrus beat out a bunt, loading the bases with no outs.

That brought up Prince Fielder, who entered the game hitting .462 (12-for-26) with runners in scoring position, the fourth highest average in the league. But Cedeno struck him out.

"Prince has been swinging the bat very well," Banister said. "He has been coming through in those situations. Other guys have to come through too."

Beltre almost did after Cash brought in right-hander Kevin Jepsen. After fouling off the first pitch, Beltre hammered a 95-mile-per-hour fastball deep to right-center. But the ball didn't quite get as far as the Rangers needed and Kevin Kiermaier hauled it in on the warning track.

"When it left the bat, yeah," Banister said. "He caught it up against the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark. I felt like it had a chance."

All runners moved up one base, making it 5-2. Jepsen walked Kyle Blanks to re-load the bases, bringing up Carlos Peguero. But Jepsen got ahead 1-2 in the count and then threw a 94-mph fastball by him for strike three.

That ended the Rangers' best chance to extend their four-game winning streak as the Rays tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.