DETROIT The last thing the Rays wanted to see was another pitcher walk off the mound with an injury, but that’s what happened Thursday when LHP Jake McGee could not continue pitching after taking a line drive by 3B Miguel Cabrera off his left shin in the seventh inning. McGee threw two warm-up pitches before heading to the trainer’s room. “I didn’t want to risk it just in case,” McGee said. “It’s also my push-off leg and I put a lot of pressure on it.” The injury is a contusion and McGee is listed as day-to-day, though he said he thinks he will be able to pitch Friday night when the Rays begin a 10-game homestand with the first of three games against the Orioles.
It was a 3-1 game when manager Joe Maddon called for McGee in the sixth, hoping he could hold the Tigers an enable the Rays to come back against Detroit’s bullpen. McGee allowed a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia to make it a 4-1 game. McGee struck out Andy Dirks to end the inning then struck out Torii Hunter to begin the seventh before being felled by Cabrera’s comebacker. “I was feeling good,” he said. “I was locating really well. It’s unfortunate something like that happens, especially when you’re feeling good that day.” Archer and the O’s RHP Chris Archer makes his second start of the season tonight, and Maddon doesn’t want him to change anything from his first start. “Tried and true like he did last year when he came back up,” Maddon said. “Beat up the strike zone with the fastball. He was better with the fastball command last year the second time through. Slider, I don’t think he knows how good his slider is.” Archer went four innings Saturday in Cleveland during his season debut. He allowed five runs on seven hits. Two of those hits were two-run homers by Jason Giambi and Asdrubal Cabrera off hanging changeups. “If those pitches are a couple of inches down, I get a roll over, I get a double play and I’m pitching into the sixth or seventh inning,” Archer said. This will be the first time Archer has faced the Orioles since he pitched the final 3 2/3 innings against them in the Rays 14-inning loss last September in Baltimore. Archer actually entered that game as a pinch-hitter. “That was interesting,” Maddon said. “He won everybody over in that particular performance.” Homeward bound The Rays finished the road trip 5-3, which they will take considering they had to juggle the rotation twice, made three moves in the bullpen, waited through nearly five hours of rain delays in Cleveland and made stops in Cleveland and Detroit. “Cleveland and Detroit have never been kind,” Maddon said. “It’s been a long, arduous trip in a sense. With all the different things that have been thrown at us I’m very happy with our road trip, and I’m happy with my guys. But we would have liked to have finished it off better.” Johnson sits again LF Kelly Johnson, scratched from Wednesday’s lineup with back spasms, did not start Thursday as a precaution. Johnson said he was available to pinch-hit if needed and he was on-deck when Thursday’s game ended. “I’m not worried,” Johnson said. “It’s a good time not to be dumb about this.” Noteworthy RHP Alex Cobb’s 7 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday was the longest scoreless outing this season against the Tigers. He’s now 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA in eight starts this year following a Rays loss … The University of Tampa DII national championship baseball team will be honored before Friday night’s game … OF Sam Fuld’s bunt single in the ninth inning Wednesday was only the third bunt single of his career …. The Rays lead the major leagues with 30 ninth inning runs … The Rays purchased the contract of RHP Michael Colla from Bridgeport of the Atlantic League and assigned him to Double A Montgomery … Maddon called RHP Joel Peralta the team MVP at this point of the season.