Feldman improves to 13-4 as Rangers shut out Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Scott Feldman earned high praise from Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.

The right-hander won his fifth consecutive road start, Michael Young and Ivan Rodriguez each drove in two runs and the Texas Rangers avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Rays 4-0 on Sunday.

Feldman (13-4) is the first Texas pitcher with victories in five straight starts away from home since Rick Helling accomplished the feat in 1998. Feldman, 9-1 this season on the road, allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings.

Maddon said Feldman's stuff actually "was better" than Mark Buehrle's when the Chicago White Sox left-hander threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23.

"He was pretty much a complete package today," Maddon said.

Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-run single in the third that put Texas ahead 2-0.

Rodriguez made it 3-0 with a fourth-inning RBI double and hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth. He has driven in 62 runs in 77 career games against the Rays.

Tampa Bay's David Price (6-6) gave up three runs and three hits in seven innings. The left-hander had won five starts in a row at home.

"It's good on paper, but it's not good enough," Price said. "Feldman threw well. He kept us off balance for seven innings."

Feldman struck out a career-high 11 and walked two. Texas pitchers finished with 15 strikeouts.

"We needed a well-pitched game, and we shut out a pretty good team," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I just think it showed the character and the resiliency in that clubhouse."

Feldman worked out of jams in the second and seventh innings when the Rays had two on with one out.

"We mixed it up really good," Feldman said. "Pudge [Rodriguez] is probably the best catcher of all-time and he's got a really good idea about what he's doing back there. He showed a lot of confidence in me and my off-speed pitches. That made a big difference facing those guys."

Feldman's 11 strikeouts were the most by a Texas pitcher since Matt Perisho had 12 on Oct. 3, 1999, against the Los Angeles Angels.

"He threw all his pitches for strikes when he needed to," Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria said. "He was tough."

Darren O'Day struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth before closer Frank Francisco pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

The Rays completed a nine-game homestand with a 6-3 record. They won two of three from Texas despite going 1 for 25 with runners in scoring position.

"That's incredible," Maddon said. "Their pitching is that good."

Tampa Bay is 42-21 at home this season.

Game notes
Tampa Bay, 25-35 on the road, starts a seven-game road trip Monday at Toronto. The Rays will face Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay (13-6), who they have defeated five times over the past two seasons. ... The Rangers are off Monday before opening a three-game series Tuesday at the AL East-leading New York Yankees. ... Texas signed 3B Travis Metcalf to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Tampa Bay special adviser Fred McGriff, dressed in full gear, was the umpire for a pregame softball contest between the wives and girlfriends of the Rays and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McGriff hit 493 homers during a 19-year big league career. ... The Rays are hitting .069 (4 for 58) against the Rangers bullpen this year.