ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 5: Neal Cotts #56 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 5, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Things couldn't have been much worse for Texas Rangers reliever Neal Cotts on Saturday night as he gave up the go-ahead two-run double that turned Nick Martinez's big-league debut from a win to a no-decision, and more importantly, blew a chance at beating the Tampa Bay ace with a rookie on the hill.
On Sunday, Cotts bailed out Yu Darvish in his 2014 debut after Alexi Ogando tried to choke away Darvish's chance at a win.
After going toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb and putting up a bunch of zeroes through seven innings, Darvish's offense broke through in the top of the eighth with a two-out rally that ended with a two-run blast over the left field wall by Elvis Andrus.
That brought in Ogando to start the bottom of the eighth, and the struggling righty allowed two baserunners despite getting two outs to bring up lefty Matt Joyce. That prompted Washington to go back to Cotts a day after allowing a big hit. Cotts went back to being Cotts and struck out Joyce to end the inning and keep the Rays off the board.