Desmond Jennings hit a walk-off single to right field off of Joe Ortiz, scoring the winning run from second base in the form of Sam Fuld and giving the Rays a 4-3 win over Texas.
The heart-breaking loss moves the Rangers a game behind Tampa Bay for the Wild Card lead.
And they had their chance to win.
In the top of the twelfth, the Rangers failed to capitalize on a leadoff, pinch-hit double by Jeff Baker. They had runners at second and third with one out, and couldn’t push a run across home plate. Leonys Martin popped out in the infield, and Kinsler struck out to end the frame in a 3-3 tie.
Texas had the lead in extra innings, too.
Elvis Andrus came all the way around from first base to score the go-ahead run on an eleventh-inning single by Adrian Beltre.
Andrus was only the third Ranger base runner since the second inning, but he made it count after being hit by a Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) fastball with one out in the eleventh.
Joe Nathan recorded two quick outs and ran into trouble in the bottom half of the inning. A two-out walk, a stolen base, and a two-out, RBI single by David DeJesus scored the tying run for Tampa Bay.
Relievers for both teams had combined for four full innings of shutout baseball after Rangers’ starter Derek Holland and Rays’ starter Chris Archer each recorded a quality start.
Both tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs.
Leonys Martin put the Rangers on the board with a two-out, two-run triple to deep center field in the second inning. Desmond Jennings broke in with his first step, and couldn’t retreat quick enough to grab the line shot by Martin.
Mitch Moreland, who doubled with one out, and Jurickson Profar, who walked with two outs, each scored on the play.
Holland was efficient with his pitch count early in the game. The lefty needed only five pitches to get through the first inning. He needed only 17 pitches to complete two innings, and 56 to get through five shutout innings.
The Rays finally got to Holland in the sixth, after Jurickson Profar failed to turn an innin-ending double play on Delmon Young. Profar’s throw went wide of first base, so the inning continued.
Sean Rodriguez took advantage of the 20-year-old’s mistake, launching a two-out, two-run home run into the left field seats to tie the game.
Holland’s night was done after six innings and a lot of two-out trouble. He pitched with a runner in scoring position and two outs in three consecutive innings before the sixth.
A hit batsman put runners at first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Holland retired Ben Zobrist on a grounder back to the mound.
He eluded damage in a second-and-third jam after a Sean Rodriguez double down the left field line with two outs in the fourth. James Loney grounded out to end the threat.
The Rays threatened again with a runner on second and two out after Jennings lined a double to left-center, but a smash off the bat of Zobrist landed in Adrian Beltre’s glove in the next at-bat.
Holland is mired in an eight-start winless drought, as he hasn’t earned a win since Aug. 4. He has allowed eight home runs in his last six starts.
Jason Frasor and Tanner Scheppers tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively. Scheppers has allowed just one run in his last 11 appearances. He walked Wil Myers with two outs in the eighth, the first free pass Scheppers had issued since Aug. 21.
Neal Cotts pitched the ninth, and Joakim Soria took the mound for the tenth inning before Nathan blew the save in the eleventh. Nathan hasn’t recorded a save since Sept. 8.
Game four of the four-game set between the AL Wild Card leaders is set for Thursday night in St. Petersburg. First pitch is slated for 6:10 p.m. CT.