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Maddon gets tossed in Rays loss



ANAHEIM, Calif. — At least Joe Maddon didn’t have to stick around until the end.

Maddon was ejected in the seventh inning Monday night as his current Rays team was in the process of another ugly loss to his former Angels team, this time 10-7 in a brutally paced 3-hour, 48-minute affair that ended just before 2 a.m. Tampa Bay time.

“The Angels are playing at a very high level right now,” Maddon said. “In this ballpark they’re back to swarming kind of offense that they had when they won the world championship (in 2002). They’re looking very reminiscent of that time.”

The Rays are now 0-6 in Anaheim in two seasons under Maddon, who spent 31 years in the Angels organization. And it’s obvious he doesn’t like losing to his old mates, since three of his six career ejections have come against the Angels.

The Rays (63-88), despite playing without injured Carl Crawford, got off to a decent start offensively against Angels ace Kelvim Escobar,  scoring in the first three innings and leading 1-0 and 4-3. It was the sixth time on the eight-game road trip they knocked out the opposing starter in less than five innings.
But starter Edwin Jackson and a crew of five relievers — with little help from a sloppy defense — couldn’t contain the Angels, who are days from clinching another AL West title.

Maddon said before the game the Rays weren’t far from being able to compete with the Angels for a postseason berth, but the gap looked wide Monday.

“You look at a situation against Escobar where you do that well you’d like to be able to win that game,” Maddon said. “Jackson has been pitching relatively good for us in the recent past but they just kept wearing us down.  … They just got us. They beat up our starter. They were relentless.”

Jackson gave up a team-record tying 14 hits (and seven runs) —and in less than five innings — aligning himself with Jeremi Gonzalez and Tanyon Sturtze. An error by Brendan Harris, his first in 45 games since moving to second base, eventually led to three Angels runs in the second. B.J. Upton had a pair of errant throws, overthrowing third so badly the ball hit the top of the dugout and bounced into the stands, allowing a run.

“First day in a little sloppy,” Jonny Gomes said. “Hopefully we can clean it up the next two.”
Maddon, who’d argued a clearly missed call at first in the second inning, was later ejected after Gomes was called out on a check-swing by first-base ump Mark Wegner. Maddon said he’d let the first call go, respectful that “everybody makes mistakes” and moved on.

“I was not arguing the check-swing, I was arguing the fact that I felt the umpire was spending too much time in our dugout. Emotionally, in a sense. ... That was just based on a visual confrontation between Jon and the umpire.”

Said Gomes: “I think he’s right on. Who blinks first. I didn’t say a word. I was mad. I was the one who struck out. That was it. I didn’t say a word. Joe, being a good manager, he was the one who came down and said some words.”

Jackson, now 4-15 with a 5.99 earned-run average, posted a zero in the first, but the relentless and aggressive Angels scored in five consecutive innings to pull ahead.
“To utilize more of his offspeed pitches would have been wonderful,” Maddon said. “He was just trying to get too hard with them.”

The whole night wasn’t a loss for the Rays.

Upton made a straight steal of home off the slow delivering Escobar on a 2-and-1 pitch, the sixth Ray to commit such brazen larceny, and rookie Delmon Young had three more RBIs to push his total to 90.

“We did some momentum kind of things we just did not capitalize on,” Maddon said. “This whole road trip we’ve been knocking out starters left and right and not getting wins and that’s really discouraging. We have to get better in that regard.”

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:32am]


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