ST. PETERSBURG — If you second-guessed manager Joe Maddon's choice of relievers in the 10th inning of Wednesday's loss, you are not alone.
Maddon did, too.
RHP Joel Peralta started the inning, faced three batters and was pulled for RHP Roberto Hernandez after issuing two walks, the second one intentional. Hernandez walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, then allowed a grand slam to pinch-hitter Mike Carp.
“I probably should have started (Hernandez) in the inning, because Joel had really warmed up too much and I knew that,” Maddon said. “I just took a chance and could see from the beginning (Peralta) didn't have his normal stuff, so under all those circumstances, it would have been better to start him in that inning.”
Peralta warmed up twice prior to warming up to pitch the 10th and said after the game that he wasn't at his best. Still, he said there was no excuse for walking leadoff hitter 2B Dustin Pedroia and accepted the blame for the loss.
“He would have been fine had he just warmed up and come in the game,” Maddon said. “You would have seen the normal him, and if that were the case, I would not have gone to Roberto, but I saw he was off a little bit and I knew why. That's why I thought the better chance there was to get a ground ball. You take your chances, and it just didn't work out.”
Hernandez declined to speak to reporters after the game. With urging from Peralta, Hernandez spoke to reporters Thursday afternoon. He said he threw a slider to Carp.
“It's not my best pitch,” he said. “Everybody knows my sinker is coming. Bad slider. Hung it up in the zone.”
Hernandez was facing his first hot situation since being moved to the bullpen. He had pitched 4ª perfect innings of relief over two outings before Wednesday.
After making 24 starts this season, Hernandez found himself in an unfamiliar situation — entering the game in the 10th inning with the score tied and two runners on base.
“It was a tough situation, but I don't think about that. I think about making a good pitch for a ground-ball double play,” he said. “I can't control that. I don't think about the (score) being tied. I just wanted to make a good pitch.”
Several of the Rays said Wednesday's loss was a little draining. Though Maddon had a talk with CF Desmond Jennings on Wednesday afternoon to reaffirm the confidence he has in Jennings, Maddon said he would not hold a team-wide reaffirmation meeting.
“I think a lot of times that is redundant stuff, and most of the time it's for the benefit of the person saying it,” Maddon said. “Whereas he feels like he has to get something off his chest or there might be anger involved, which I don't feel either thing. I don't have anything to get off my chest and I'm not angry. So if they didn't care, if the work wasn't there or I didn't see the mental or physical effort on a nightly basis, then I'd feel compelled because I would have a reason, but right now I think that concept is overblown and I think it could actually be counterproductive.”
Molina attends to family matter
C Jose Molina was not with the team Thursday. Maddon said he flew to St. Louis to be with his family while his mother underwent surgery.
Maddon said Molina is expected to join the team tonight in Minnesota.
Carp hit the first pinch-hit extra-inning grand slam in Red Sox history. It was the second extra-inning grand slam allowed this season by the Rays. Baltimore's Matt Wieters hit one off RHP Brandon Gomes on April 18. ... Ben Zobrist tied Carlos Pena for the team lead in career walks Wednesday with No. 460. ... Hitting coach Derek Shelton met with the hitters after Thursday's pregame stretch but said he was going over the batting practice groups and not holding a meeting.