Gut-check time

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For all the noise the Rays made over a controversial check swing that preceded Michael Young's three-run homer Thursday, their offense was completely silent against the Rangers.

As a result, the Rangers moved within one game of their first playoff series victory in franchise history after a convincing 6-0 victory in Game 2 of this best-of-five American League Division Series.

"You can't win games by just getting two hits," manager Joe Maddon said after the Rays succumbed to left-hander C.J. Wilson and two relievers.

"But I had to make my point for two nights in a row."

Maddon was ejected for arguing after Young hit the home run on a 3-2 pitch.

On the previous pitch, first base umpire Jerry Meals ruled Young checked his swing on a slider from reliever Chad Qualls, although television replays showed Young's bat crossed the plate.

"If (Meals) had rung me up, I would have walked back to the dugout and focused on defense," Young said.

Nevertheless, the Rangers have limited the Rays to one run in the first two games of this series, which shifts Saturday to Rangers Ballpark.

"Our pitching took their fans out of it early," Rangers President and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan said. "Then our offense took them out of it early by tacking on runs, and that's demoralizing. So it's hard to build some momentum."

Wilson, a former reliever who won 15 games during the regular season, completed his 61/3-inning, two-hit performance by fooling Kelly Shoppach on a called third strike with runners at second and third.

Shoppach, who jogged to first before realizing home plate umpire Jim Wolf had called him out, waved his hands in disgust.

"I don't know if we're going to be wearing the red or white jerseys, but everyone is happy," Wilson said.

"It's like once the seal breaks and we get that first hit, that first run, you see the energy just spike in the clubhouse."

mgonzales@tribune.com

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