Rays-Rangers: Scott Kazmir KOs Texas With 10-Strikeout Effort

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IMay 27, 2008

The Tampa Bay Rays have finally found success, with a 31-20 record, tops in the AL East and the best in baseball.

This team couldn't win when it was called the Devil Rays. Now they are looking unstoppable.

The Rangers came into St. Petersburg riding high after winning a three-game series in Cleveland against the Tribe's aces (Carmona, Lee, and Sabathia).

However, the Rangers ran into another ace on Memorial Day: 24-year-old Scott Kazmir. 

This game featured the return of former overall first pick Josh Hamilton to Tampa Bay, but the night belonged to Kazmir.

When Hamilton was announced for his first at-bat, he received a standing ovation, but yet there were still some boos.  I would love the opportunity to find these people and ask them what the hell they were booing for.

When Hamilton was beginning his comeback, Tampa Bay placed him in the Rule 5 Draft.  So it wasn't Hamilton wanting to leave Tampa Bay, it was Tampa Bay not sure they wanted to keep him.  So why are you booing?

In his return, Hamilton didn't have the game he was hoping for, going 0-for-4.

Then again, none of the Ranger hitters seemed to be able to get this one going. Through the first three innings, Kazmir had a perfect game and struck out seven of those first nine hitters.

A one-out single in the fourth provided the Rangers' first base runner.  In fact, Texas couldn't get anything going until Ian Kinsler's sacrifice fly scored Marlon Byrd in the sixth inning, but the Rangers were already down 5-0 by that time.

Both teams would score two more runs each. The Rangers' runs came on Kinsler's seventh home run of the year.

Kazmir went seven innings, striking out 10, and allowing only the one run on three hits.

Texas and Tampa Bay again play tonight at 6:10 CST, with Vicente Padilla and Andy Sonnanstine taking the mound.