ARLINGTON -- The Rangers just don't do well on manager Ron Washington's birthday, and the fact that they are off to one of the best starts in club history still couldn't change that.
It also didn't keep Washington from getting ejected from the game after the seventh inning of the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday. The Rangers are now 0-5 with one rainout on Washington's birthday during his six seasons as manager.
"At least the cake tasted pretty good," Washington said. "That's all right ... we'll bounce back tomorrow."
On a night when the manager turned 60, the Rangers lost their first series of the season. Sunday night's loss was the Rangers' second in three games to the Rays, ending a club record of winning six straight series to open the season. They had also won 12 straight regular-season series going back to last year.
"I don't care about anything except tonight's game," designated hitter Michael Young said.
"It's always frustrating when you lose," second baseman Ian Kinsler said after lining out to end the game with the bases loaded in the ninth inning against Rays closer Fernando Rodney. "We didn't bring our bats tonight."
Kinsler also struck out looking on a full-count pitch to end the seventh and took exception with home-plate umpire Dan Bellino's call. Kinsler started to argue before Washington interceded. That allowed Kinsler to stay in the game, but Washington got ejected for the first time this season and his 13th time as Rangers manager.
"I shouldn't have said what I said," Washington said. "You can't argue balls and strikes."
The Rangers, before Sunday, had never won on Washington's birthday and they had never lost to Rays starter David Price. That was another streak that came to an end on Sunday night. Price was 0-6 with a 5.30 ERA in nine starts, including the playoffs, in his career against the Rangers before holding them to two runs over 6 1/3 innings.
He combined his fastball with a particularly effective changeup to allow just six hits and one walk, while striking out six. The Rangers did not have an extra-base hit for only the second time in 22 games this season. They were also 1-for-8 on the night with runners in scoring position, and that was a first-inning single by Josh Hamilton to give them a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton later had to leave the game with back stiffness.
"Personally, for myself, I've never beat those guys. So first and foremost, that feels great," Price said. "I'm pumped that we won, as well. I can turn that page now. I feel like that's the best lineup in baseball. They've got power one through nine. They've got speed mixed in there and they can hit the ball out to any part of the ballpark. You have to be able to make pitches. Keep the ball down."
Rangers starter Derek Holland had trouble doing that despite being given a 1-0 lead. Holland retired the side in order in the first, but allowed three runs in the second and one in the third. He faced 12 batters over those two innings and seven reached base on six hits and a walk. Four of the six hits were for extra bases.
"During the second inning, he misplaced some fastballs," Washington said. "After that, he got a grip on that and had great secondary stuff. Just in that second inning, he got his fastball up. He'll have to make an adjustment and we believe he will."
Holland lasted seven innings, but has still allowed 12 runs in 13 innings over his last two starts. He was the losing pitcher in two of the Rangers' three losses on a 3-3 homestand.
"Obviously, the first game of the two, I had a lot of walks," Holland said. "Tonight, I was trying to go after people and throw strikes. I'm not going to change anything. I just caught too much of the plate. Location was the big thing, but I'm going to continue to grind through it."
Holland is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA through his first five starts.
"He's going to be fine," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "He's getting behind in the count and his fastball command wasn't there, especially tonight. His offspeed pitches were good. I'm not worried about it. He had some rough outings. He's probably been the best pitcher we've had lately. He'll be able to make adjustments."
Holland left trailing, 5-2, after seven innings. The Rangers mounted one more challengee in the ninth against closer Fernando Rodney, when they loaded the bases with two out. But Kinsler hit a soft liner back to the mound and Washington had to watch from his office as another birthday ended in defeat.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.