Tampa Bay Rays
Rays fall in 10th on Orioles' grand slam. 10-6
Well, the road trip started with a blown call in the ninth inning in Texas that didn't go the Tampa Bay Rays' way, and it ended in the same fashion Thursday night at Camden Yards.
Both contributed to a Rays loss.
Did Baltimore's Adam Jones retouch second base in the 10th inning after passing the bag on what he thought was a game-winning double? Replays said no.
Should Jones have been out when the Rays appealed? The rules say yes.
Would it have changed the outcome?
“That question can never be answered,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Matt Wieters followed Jones to the plate and ended the game with a grand slam that sent the Rays to a 10-6 defeat.
The Rays finished the road trip at 2-7. They open a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three games against the Oakland A's.
It was a crushing loss because the Rays offense showed as much life as it had all season, slugging four home runs and mustering 11 hits for the second straight night.
But Rays starter David Price couldn't find his groove. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner is still searching for his first victory of 2013.
“It's a frustrating time for myself right now and for this team,” Price said. “I want to win. I do. That's why I play this game, and that's to win and most importantly I want my team to win every fifth day when it's my turn to pitch, and that's not happening right now. I got to make adjustments and continue to work.”
Price is now 0-1 with a 6.26 ERA in four starts. The Rays have lost all four, marking the first time in his career the team lost four straight games started by Price. He is also the fifth reigning Cy Young Award winner to see his team lose each of his first four starts of the season.
Price might have had win No. 1 Thursday had he not blown three leads for the first time in his career.
“It was kind of a tough night for him,” Maddon said. “(Baltimore) kept coming back.”
The Rays gave Price leads of 3-0, 4-3 and 5-4 and the Orioles had an answer for each.
Desmond Jennings, Evan Longoria, Jose Molina and James Loney all homered for the suddenly power-happy Rays. Tampa Bay had five home runs in the 12 games prior to the series. They hit nine in the three games in Baltimore.
The Rays struggles through the first six games of the trip were blamed on the offense.
Now, the starting pitching is scuffling – both Roberto Hernandez and Price allowed five runs in their starts against the Orioles – and the bullpen allowed five runs Thursday.
“I guess that's how baseball goes, sometimes,” Sean Rodriguez said. “Hopefully we can start pitching and hitting on the same night. There doesn't seem to be a correlation right now. Maybe we all need to go out and eat together.”
Price had a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning when he allowed a leadoff single to J.J. Hardy. While he was only at 86 pitches, Maddon decided he wanted to Jake McGee to face Steve Pearce, who was hitless in 15 at-bats this season.
Price said he was surprised to be pulled at that point of the game.
“But Joe has been the manager of the year how many times the past couple of years because he makes decisions like that,” Price said.
Said Maddon: “I felt really good about Jake McGee in that moment.”
Pearce homered deep into the left field seats to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead.
Loney tied the score in the eighth inning with his first home run of the season.
Jamey Wright was pitching when Nick Markakis opened the 10th with a single. Maddon called for Brandon Gomes.
Manny Machado tried to move Markakis with a sacrifice bunt but was safe at first when the ball hugged the first base line.
Gomes hung a slider and Jones smashed it off the right field fence for what looked to be the game-winning hit. But Markakis went back to tag at second and could only advance to third. Jones, meanwhile, kept running and had passed second base when he realized there were two base runners head of him. He ran back to first, but forgot to retouch second base.
Rodriguez, who was playing second, said Jones missed the bag. Second base umpire Gerry Davis called Jones safe on the Rays appeal.
“He said he saw it,” Rodriguez said. “It didn't look to me like he ever turned his head around the whole play, but the man said he saw it, right?”
Maddon went to the five-man infield again, bringing Ben Zobrist in from right field.
Gomes threw a backdoor slider with his first pitch that got too much of the plate.
Wieters drove it over the right field wall.
Would having Jones called out changed Gomes approach to Wieters?
He could have walked Wieters to reload the bases then face Chris Davis with a chance for an inning-ending double play.
“It could have, yeah, but I'm not going to play that game,” Gomes said. “I just didn't execute the pitches I needed to.”