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TEX@TB: Johnson throws out Hamilton at third base

ST. PETERSBURG -- The celebration will have to wait.

The 11,611 in attendance at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night were denied a chance to witness the 1,000th win in Rays history, as Tampa Bay fell to the Rangers, 8-0, snapping their three-game winning streak.

It was the 14th time this season the Rays (77-64) have been shut out, as the Rangers' C.J. Wilson was the latest to take the honors. With the loss, Tampa Bay dropped to 5-3 in its season series against Texas, with one game to play.

Less than a week after squaring off in Arlington, the Rangers roughed up Jeff Niemann.

"Jeff had a tough day, and their pitcher's really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's kind of like [Monday's] game in reverse."

"I was falling behind a lot of those guys, putting myself in pretty bad counts, hitter's counts early on," Niemann said. "That was a struggle for me early [Tuesday]."

Niemann, who fell to 9-7, gave up seven runs on nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

"Everything was flat," Maddon said of Niemann's pitches. "It was up in the zone. He threw three or four fastballs down that were really good. Otherwise, it just wasn't his typical performance."

Even with a righty-filled lineup, the Rays couldn't figure out Wilson (15-6), who pitched his second gem in a week against Tampa Bay. The southpaw allowed just five hits while striking out six en route to his first career shutout.

"[Wilson] told us in the fifth inning he was going to finish," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had his cutter working tonight and a tight slider. He was also moving his fastball around. He was in control."

For the second time in a week, Wilson downright frustrated the Rays' lineup.

"We just can't figure him out," said Evan Longoria, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts as Tampa Bay's designated hitter. "It's been two years now. I don't know what it is. He really mixed his pitches well [Tuesday] like he normally does."

Even when the Rays were able to get runners on, Wilson easily erased them, getting the Rays to ground into four double plays.

"He has been disgustingly consistent against us," Maddon said. "He's just on top of his game whenever he sees us in the batter's box."

Of course, Wilson also has a potent offense to back him up. The Rangers banged out 12 hits in the game -- seven for extra bases -- and every starter except Mitch Moreland had at least one hit. Right fielder David Murphy did most of the damage, going 4-for-4 -- including two doubles and a home run -- with four RBIs.

It was a Rangers offense James Shields was able to silence on Monday.

"That's one of the better lineups you're going to face," Niemann said. "It just makes what Shields has done that much more impressive, to see him go out there and make it look easy like that. That's running out a quality lineup, one through nine."

Niemann's night was rocky from the start as Ian Kinsler led off the game by lifting a 3-1 offering into the left-field stands to give Texas an early 1-0 lead.

Murphy led off the second inning with a solo shot of his own on a 1-1 pitch to right field to put the Rangers up, 2-0. Two outs later, Endy Chavez reached on an infield single that deflected off Niemann's glove, but he was caught stealing second to end the inning.

The Rays squandered a chance to get on the board in the bottom of the second. Sean Rodriguez drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Casey Kotchman single. But Wilson got Brandon Guyer to pop out and Jose Lobaton to ground out.

Texas continued to pound Niemann in the third, plating three more on Josh Hamilton's RBI double to right and Murphy's two-run double to center to make it 5-0.

The Rays failed to cash in again in the fourth. Ben Zobrist started the frame with a one-out single to center. Rodriguez followed with an infield single to deep short. The inning immediately fizzled when Kotchman grounded into a double play.

The Rangers knocked Niemann out in the fifth. Hamilton cranked a one-out double -- his second of the game -- to center and advanced to third on Michael Young's bloop single to right. Adrian Beltre drove in Hamilton with a sacrifice fly to center, making it a 6-0 game and ending Niemann's night.

Lefty Cesar Ramos surrendered an RBI double to Murphy -- the run was credited to Niemann -- and intentionally walked Mike Napoli to get to Moreland, who struck out to end the inning.

The Rangers struck again in the eighth on Napoli's RBI double to deep center off Rays reliever Jake McGee, who struck out the side.

The Rays hope to bounce back on Wednesday with David Price taking the hill. Price (12-12, 3.41 ERA) hopes to get back in the win column after suffering a tough-luck loss to the Orioles on Friday. Comments