Beltre, Rangers chase Rays’ Price early for win

ARLINGTON, Texas – When you get a chance to knock around an ace like David Price, you don’t want to blow the game. The Rangers teetered on the brink of doing just that Monday.

However, an offense led once again by Adrian Beltre and another lockdown performance by the bullpen resulted in a 6-5 win over Tampa Bay.

Price came into the game with a lofty 16-4 record and 2.28 ERA. He left after just four innings, his shortest appearance since April 13, and saw an eight-game winning streak snapped.

Beltre, who hit for the cycle and had a three-homer game in the past week, came within a triple of hitting for the cycle again.

He jump-started the offense with a second-inning homer, which was immediately followed by another home by Nelson Cruz, and knocked in the winning run in the sixth.

“We knew coming in that we were going to face probably the best pitcher in the American League right now,” Beltre said. “The offense was ready. We were attacking early. We know that he throws a lot of fastballs, he’s around the plate.”

Following the back-to-back homers by Beltre and Cruz, the Rangers got two more hits and a run off Price in the second and to take a 3-2 lead.

Starter Derek Holland (9-6, 4.90) lost the lead by giving up a run in the next half-inning, then gave up another lead in the top of the fifth.

Beltre hit a two-run double to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead in the third inning. Tampa Bay tied it up with two runs in the top of the fifth.

After Beltre’s fourth RBI in the bottom of the fifth gave Holland yet another lead, the lefty sent the Rays down in order in the sixth before handing the game off to the bullpen.

“Whenever the guys put up runs for me, that’s one thing I’m disappointed with, my job is to go out there and shut down the opponent, keep them on the ground,” said Holland, who was the victim of an Elvis Andrus error in the first that led to two runs. “As the game progressed I feel like I did a much better job of keeping them down while I could.”

The Rangers’ bullpen didn’t allow a baserunner over the final three innings. Alexi Ogando got two strikeouts in the seventh, Mike Adams picked up two more strikeouts in the eighth and Joe Nathan recorded his 26th save with two strikeouts in the ninth.

The Rangers are now 65-1 when leading after seven innings.

“Ogando, Adams and Nathan, they came out and got us nine big outs. And the three that Derek got in the sixth was huge, too,” Washington said.

“Both lefties was getting it handed to them. We screwed up the first inning, but the offenses just wouldn’t stop. But Derek got the last three outs and he was the last man standing.”

Beltre’s chance at a second cycle in four days ended on a walk in the seventh. That was a wise move by Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth considering the way Beltre, named the AL Player of the Week on Monday, has been carrying the offense.

“Beltre just wasn’t going to let us not win this game tonight,” Washington said. “And the bullpen wasn’t going to let us not win tonight. They came in and they did one heck of a job.”

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire