Four-Run Fourth Too Much For Rays To Overcome In Loss To Rangers

Nick Solak delivered a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning of the Rangers’ 8-3 win over the Rays on Tuesday night. (AP/Steve Nesius)

ST. PETERSBURG  — Leadoff batter Isiah Kiner-Falefa took three pitches to do something the Rangers could not do until the fifth inning off Tyler Glasnow 24 hours earlier: get a hit.

The hits kept coming.

Texas piled up 13 of them in a 8-3 win over the Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

Ryan Yarbrough allowed hits to three of the first four batters and also committed a balk when he dropped the ball while on the rubber. That allowed Kiner-Falefa to advance to second. He scored on a one-out single by Joey Gallo.

“Definitely an interesting way to lead off the day,” said Yarbrough, who fell to 0-9 with a 4.99 ERA in his last 20 starts.

The lefty settled in and retired eight straight with the Rays taking a 2-1 lead into the fourth. That is when the wheels fell off.

While not exactly scorchers off the bat, the first three Rangers singled to lead off the fourth. Former Rays’ farmhand Nick Solak cleared the bases when he lined a changeup for a double down the left field line. Solak scored on Charlie Culberson’s double to cap a four-run inning that gave Texas a 5-2 lead.

“I feel that in the fourth inning, with three straight singles, nothing was hit hard,” said Yarbrough, who threw 93 pitches, 64 for strikes. “Then I did not execute the pitch to Solak.”

The Rays appeared to have an immediate response in their half of the inning when Brandon Lowe led off with a single and Yandy Diaz followed with a walk. Neither of the next three batters, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Willy Adames and Brett Phillips, could advance the runners let alone get at least one home.

“We just have to do a better job of capitalizing,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Runs are tough to come by now.”

They were tough to come by against Texas starter Kyle Gibson, who allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) in seven innings.

“We have seen him enough to know that when he is on, he is tough,” said Cash. “He created plenty off weak contact and kept the ball off the barrel.”

Culberson, who had three hits on the evening, launched a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Rangers an 8-2 lead.

The run total must have come as quite the relief for the Rangers, who were blanked in three of their previous four games and had scored two or fewer runs in five of their previous seven.

The four-game series resumes Wednesday night.

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.