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TB@TEX Gm1: Wilson K's six over five frames vs. Rays

ARLINGTON -- After taking a postgame shower, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton put on a T-shirt as he addressed the media. He pointed to the lemon on the front of it and the message around it: "Don't get bitter ... get better."

"This is for this game," Hamilton said.

The Rangers do have to get better and quickly because Game 1 of the American League Division Series was a disaster. Starter C.J. Wilson allowed eight runs in five innings while giving up three home runs as the Rangers suffered a 9-0 beating against the Rays in front of a sellout crowd at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday afternoon.

The Rangers managed just two hits over seven innings against Rays rookie left-hander Matt Moore to fall behind 1-0 in the series and now must face All-Star right-hander James Shields on Saturday. Shields beat the Rangers twice, on Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, allowing one run in 17 innings. Derek Holland will pitch for the Rangers.

"Obviously, this wasn't our best game," Rangers infielder Michael Young said. "We'll come out tomorrow, play hard and expect better things. We don't care how we lost. A loss is a loss. We're not going get worked up about what went wrong. We're going to focus on what we need to do tomorrow."

This was the largest shutout loss by an AL team to open the postseason since the Tigers lost to the Cubs, 9-0, in Game 1 of the 1945 World Series. The Tigers went on to win that World Series.

"Of course, it's disappointing. We go out and expect to win every game," catcher Mike Napoli said. "We just got beat today. We didn't hit. We've got to forget about it. This team is good at that."

"Everybody is fine," outfielder David Murphy said. "It's just one game. We lost two games in the first round last year, although it wasn't in the first game. It's just a loss. You can break it down and say we didn't hit well or we didn't pitch well. But this team has always been resilient. We'll just come out tomorrow and play."

Wilson had the toughest afternoon of anybody while giving up the home runs, including two to Kelly Shoppach. Wilson had allowed more than two home runs in just one of 67 starts over the past two years. He allowed four against the Angels on Aug. 31. He had allowed as many as two home runs in just four other starts.

Wilson, constantly finding himself in 3-and-1 counts, gave up six runs in the first three innings. That's one more run than he allowed in 37 1/3 innings over his final six starts of the regular season. He also gave up a two-run home run in the second inning to Johnny Damon, a left-handed hitter. He had allowed just two home runs to left-handed hitters all season, plus one in the All-Star game to Prince Fielder.

"I was just trying to get into a mechanical rhythm," Wilson said. "Everything's mechanics for me, and today a couple pitches I got where I wanted and others I'd try to throw down and away and they got in the middle.

"Like the pitch Damon hit, it was supposed to be down and away and it was up and in. Obviously, if you miss your spot by 2 1/2 feet, it's going to be a bad result most of the time."

Damon's home run gave the Rays a 2-0 lead and a two-out RBI single by Matt Joyce later in the inning made it a three-run advantage. That proved huge for Moore, who took advantage of the early support by simply pounding the strike zone.

The Rangers' game plan going in was to make the rookie left-hander work, and he threw 18 pitches in the first inning. But the Rays' three-run lead in the second inning changed everything.

"He got that early lead and started getting strike one," Young said. "We swung the bats well early and hit some balls hard but didn't get many breaks. In the middle innings, the shadows started coming on and there wasn't much offense on either side."

Rangers manager Ron Washington scoffed at the suggestions that his team was flat while the Rays were still fired up after the dramatic way they clinched the AL Wild Card on the final day of the season.

"We were fired up, too," Washington said. "The way Matt was throwing would make any offense look flat. No, we were still up fighting in the dugout. We were still trying to get it done. We got beat. We can take that. We'll bounce back tomorrow."

Josh Hamilton had the Rangers' only hits with a single in the first and a double in the fourth. This was the Rangers' fewest hits in a postseason game since getting two hits in an 8-0 loss to the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1999 ALDS. Moore, who had made just one regular-season start, walked two and struck out six.

"We talked in our meeting before the game that he was a little erratic," Hamilton said. "He wasn't today and that caused us to be not quite as aggressive. It was sort of out of character for us not to jump on some of the pitches we saw.

"It stinks, but we still have tomorrow."

They expect to be better on Saturday. Things can't get much worse that they did on Friday afternoon. Comments