Martinez denied 1st win, Rangers lose 5-4 to Rays

MARK DIDTLER Associated Press Published:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Nick Martinez saw his chance to win his major league debut slip away late in the game.

Martinez allowed three runs and four hits over six innings in the Texas Rangers 5-4 loss Saturday night to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Nick gave us a chance," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He was getting ahead of hitters. He changed speeds. He made a couple mistakes that did get out of the ballpark, but when he left the ballgame he still gave us the lead."

Martinez ended up with a no-decision.

James Loney hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning off Neal Cotts (0-1) that put Tampa Bay ahead 5-4. His opposite-field drive that went over left fielder Shin-Soo Choo came after Evan Longoria was intentionally walked to put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base.

"I was actually (surprised)," Loney said of the walk to Longoria. "They had a one-run lead, but people like to do that now."

Brandon Gomes (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth before Grant Balfour got the final three outs for his first save.

Yunel Escobar and Matt Joyce homered off Martinez.

"I need to learn to limit my mistakes," Martinez said. "I made a couple mistakes I wish I could have back, but just kept learning as I went along."

David Price, who was sick Friday and almost didn't pitch, gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings for the Rays.

"Feel better since we won," Price said.

Alex Rios put the Rangers up 2-0 with a two-out, two-run double in the first off Price. Rios has 12 hits in 30 at-bats with 10 RBIs against the Rays left-hander.

Elvis Andrus made it 3-0 on a second-inning RBI single before Escobar pulled Tampa Bay within two on a solo homer in third.

It was announced before the game that Escobar and the Rays had agreed to a two-year extension for 2015 and 2016 worth a guaranteed $13 million. There is a 2017 club option.

After Choo had a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Joyce cut the Rays deficit to 4-3 with a two-run homer in the bottom half.

Rays manager Joe Maddon had a successful challenge for the second straight game. It was first ruled that Robinson Chirinos had beat Escobar's throw from shortstop to first for an infield single in the second, but after a 1-minute, 35-second delay the umpires changed the call to an out.

Maddon won his first replay reversal in the seventh Friday night after it was first ruled that right fielder Wil Myers didn't make the catch while sliding forward on J.P. Arencibia's two-out flare. After a 1-minute, 43-second delay, the umpires ruled Myers did make the catch.

"The umpires have done a great job with it," Maddon said. "It seems to be working well."

Notes: Rangers ace Yu Darvish (neck stiffness) could throw up to 100 pitches in his first start this season Sunday. Alex Cobb (0-1) will pitch for the Rays. "It's going to be fun stuff," Maddon said. "It's a marquee matchup." ... Texas 2B Jurickson Profar (right shoulder muscle tear) is fielding grounders, but no date has been set to swing a bat. ... Rangers LHP Joe Saunders (bruised left ankle) played catch and will have his status determined by Monday. ... Martinez had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco. ... Texas RHP Daniel McCutchen was optioned to Frisco.