Rays lose game, now "need to win" tonight
UPDATE, 5:15: After today's loss, Rays manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the position they have left themselves in:
"You've got file it and move on, if we win this game tonight, that's not so awful. But we're pretty much in a position that we need to win this game tonight.''
Both RHP James Shields and LHP J.P. Howell took the loss hard. Shields blamed himself for not holding the lead and putting two runners on, and Howell blamed himself for falling behind and then failing to make a better pitch to Cano. "I feel bad, I feel terrible,'' Howell said. "I put our team in a situation like this, but we're tough enough to get out of this. It's time to do it now.''
DEVELOPING: The Rays lost another game and ground to the Red Sox with a 4-2 loss to the Yankees in the first game of today's day-night doubleheader.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead on Desmond Jennings' third-inning homer, but their failure to add on against a parade of Yankees B-team relievers was costly. James Shields held down a Yankees lineup missing Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira into the eighth, but Eduardo Nunez hit a homer to tie it and then Robinson Cano doubled in two.
The loss dropped the Rays to 2 1/2 games back, with eight games to play. They could be as much as 3 1/2 back by the end of the night, as they face Yankees ace CC Sabathia and the wild-card leading Red Sox host the last-place Orioles. The Yanks clinched a playoff spot.