ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Ron Washington said he deserved the blame for this loss. Starter C.J. Wilson disagreed, saying he basically cost the Rangers the game."I take it hard, too," reliever Arthur Rhodes said. "We should have won that game." The Rangers did not. Matt Joyce hit a two-run home run off Wilson in the seventh, and Evan Longoria hit a two-run shot off Rhodes in the eighth to give the Rays a 5-4 victory over the Rangers at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. Both home runs came with two outs, as did a home run by Sean Rodriguez off Wilson in the third inning. All five of the Rays' runs also came in the bottom of the inning after the Rangers had scored in the top of the frame to take a lead. "It's tough to get two-out RBIs, and tonight they got them each time they needed it," Washington said. The Rangers had a 3-1 lead with nine outs to go and a 4-3 lead with six outs to go. But they could not get the ball in the hands of closer Neftali Feliz, and the Rangers' bullpen is now tied with the Angels for the most blown saves in the league. Rhodes took the loss by giving up the two-run home run to Longoria, but Washington was blaming himself after the game for not having Feliz ready to pitch in that situation. "My job is to make sure I have the right people in the right place," Washington said. "I should have had Neftali ready." Wilson was still seething over the two-run home run that he allowed to Joyce, a left-handed hitter. Wilson had given up just eight home runs in 597 career at-bats against left-handers and just one in 213 at-bats as a starter over the past two seasons. He was ahead of Joyce 0-1 and then missed over the plate with a fastball. Joyce hit it into the right-field seats, erasing a 3-1 lead that the Rangers had taken in the top of the seventh on RBI singles by Ian Kinsler and Michael Young. "I'm disappointed the game got away like that," Wilson said. "I felt like I lost it for us. We had the momentum. ... I threw the ball over the middle of the plate. I missed my spot. If I don't miss my spot, he doesn't do anything with the pitch." Wilson then walked Kelly Shoppach and that was the end of his night. Washington's night was just getting interesting as he went to the bullpen for right-hander Mark Lowe. Lowe retired Sam Fuld on a fly to left to end the inning. The Rangers then regained the lead in the eighth when Nelson Cruz scored on reliever Joel Peralta's wild pitch. But they couldn't hold that 4-3 lead. Ben Zobrist flied out and Rodriguez struck out against Lowe. That brought up Johnny Damon, and Washington brought in Rhodes for a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup. Rhodes did get Damon to hit a weak popup into shallow left field, but shortstop Elvis Andrus couldn't make the catch. Andrus, who had just entered the game after pinch-hitting for Andres Blanco in the top of the inning, raced out into left, but the ball glanced off his glove for a hit. "I was a little upset missing one like that," Andrus said. "I lost the ball a little bit in the roof. I thought I was going to have to dive for it, but as I saw the ball for a second time, I knew I had a chance to catch the ball without diving. I tried to do my best, but the ball hit off my glove." That brought up Longoria with B.J. Upton on deck. Both are right-handed hitters. Washington let Rhodes face Longoria, who was 3-for-18 against lefties this season prior to that at-bat. Longoria also entered the game hitting .209 with one home run in his last 18 games. That was the point where Washington said afterward that he should have had Feliz ready. Feliz was not. He did not start warming up until after Rhodes started pitching to Longoria. "I felt Arthur could make a pitch and keep it in the ballpark," Washington said. "Longoria had been having trouble with lefties. I never thought he would leave the yard. "If I brought a right-hander in there, it would have been Neftali. I should have had him ready. When Arthur first went against Damon, I should have had him ready. I thought about it but didn't act on it. I'll take the blame for it all. I should have had him going with Arthur." Rhodes fell behind 3-1 in the count to Longoria and threw a changeup. Longoria hit it high and deep to left, and Josh Hamilton tracked it to the wall. But it landed one row into the bleachers, and that was enough to ruin the Rangers' night. "I just threw a changeup and left it up," Rhodes said. "I was trying to get him to pop it up or roll it over." Washington said Feliz's recent struggles had nothing to do with why he did not have him ready for Longoria. "I do have confidence in him," Washington said. "I should have had him ready. If Longoria gets Feliz, I don't feel so bad." Actually, that might have been a bigger story. But this ending wasn't any better for the Rangers.
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.