Rays 8, Rangers 4

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 28, 2012
Evan Longoria homered and drove in four runs to help the Tampa Bay Rays extend their winning streak to six games with an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Longoria hit a three-run homer in the first inning and added an RBI single in the fourth for the Rays, who had a season-high 16 hits in support of starter James Shields (4-0). The Tampa Bay ace became the first starter in the AL to win four games this season. Shields, who struck out eight, allowed four runs and 11 hits in six innings. Rangers starter Matt Harrison (3-1) gave up seven runs and a career-high 14 hits in five innings. The left-hander had allowed a combined four runs in winning his first three starts of the season. Josh Hamilton hit his league-leading ninth home run and Elvis Andrus added three hits for the Rangers. Andrus lined out to center with the bases loaded to end the eighth against reliever Wade Davis. The Texas shortstop just missed hitting a grand slam on the previous pitch when his shot down the line in right landed just a few feet foul. The Rangers were facing the Rays for the first time since beating them in last year's AL division series. Luke Scott homered in the sixth, and B.J. Upton and Jeff Keppinger each had three hits for the Rays. This is Tampa Bay's longest winning streak since a seven-game run July 24-30, 2010. Harrison pitched five innings and earned the victory in Game 4 of the ALDS to close out the Rays last season. On Friday night, the Rays pounced on Harrison in the first inning. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead as the first six batters of the game reached. Desmond Jennings singled and Carlos Pena reached on Ian Kinsler's fielding error at second. Longoria drove a 3-2 change-up just over the wall in the center. It was his fourth home run of the season. Ben Zobrist walked, and Keppinger and Upton followed with singles. Upton's hit scored Zobrist and gave the Rays a 4-0 lead. After Hamilton's RBI grounder in the first, Tampa Bay picked up a run in the third on Chris Gimenez's RBI single. Longoria had an RBI single and scored on Zobrist's double in the fourth, extending Tampa Bay's lead to 7-1. Harrison had his ERA jump from 1.66, which led the AL coming into the game, to 3.38. Hamilton hit a two-run blast in the fifth and David Murphy chipped in with a solo shot in the sixth off Shields. The Rangers had runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth, but Shields induced a weak grounder to the mound from Andrus to end the threat. Notes: Jennings extended his hitting streak to nine games. ... Andrus is now 10 for 16 lifetime against Shields. ... Harrison had his seven-game winning streak dating to Sept. 4 come to an end. ... Shields improved to 6-2 lifetime against the Rangers.
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