Updated game story: Rays lose on Pena error
Due to technical issues, the updated game story appears here:
By MARC TOPKIN
SEATTLE – The Rays knew their winning streak was going to end sometime.
Just not like this.
After spending much of Tuesday night looking like they would do just enough to extend their season-high wing streak to eight, they instead lost, a 3-2 walkoff to the Mariners, when first baseman Carlos Peña did something inexplicably wrong on a routine bunt play.
"It's one of those mistakes that really, really hurts,'' Pena said. "I'm bummed out because I feel like I let down the ballclub. … That just kills me. That crushes me.’’
Pena’s extremely errant throw came after Kyle Seager opened the ninth with a single off Fernando Rodney, working a fourth straight game to close out what would have been a 2-1 win for Matt Moore.
Pena fielded Chone Figgins bunt, looked at second, then double-pumped as he turned to first and threw the ball well past the reach of Sean Rodriguez and into rightfield, setting the Mariners up for the win.
“That’s a play Carlos makes 100 out of 100 times,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t know exactly what happened. It was very routine.’’
Instead, it left the Mariners with the tying run on third and the winning run on second with no outs. A sac fly by Justin Smoak scored Seager to tied it. With the Rays in five-man infield formation, Rodney struck out Miguel Olivo for the second out. But Eric Thames slapped a two-strike single just over second baseman Rodriguez to score the winner, and end Rodney’s streak of 22 consecutive saves.
“That’s part of the game,’’ Rodney said. “I tried to make a good pitch. He just slapped at it, threw the bat at the ball, and got a base hit. Nothing I could do.’’
Said Maddon: “Very fortuitous on their part.’’
Pena said his mistake was two-fold, and actually more mental than physical. He had decided before the play that he was going to charge hard and go for the out at second, then as he scooped up the ball and looked at second he changed his mind, which led to the bad throw.
“As soon as I tried to switch gears I couldn’t recover,’’ he said. “I couldn’t get my rhythm back. I felt like I didn’t even get in position to throw the ball to first, and obviously I didn’t. The throw was way off.’’
Rodriguez, standing on the base, couldn’t do anything to help, even trying to reach for the ball with his bare right hand.
“It’s frustrating,’’ Rodriguez said. “Mistakes happen. You hope they don’t come like that. We all make errors.’’
Pena said his biggest regret was not going with his initial instinct and trying to get the out at second. “I didn’t trust my gut,’’ he said. “To change all of your intentions in a matter of seconds is not a good idea.’’
Pena went up to Rodney in the clubhouse immediately after the game to apologize for costing him what would have been his major-league leading 37th save. As Pena went to his locker to dress after a shower, Rodney came across the room to console him, rubbing his back and telling him not to fret, pointing out how many times Pena had saved him.
“I respect that so much,’’ Pena said.
The events of the ninth laid waste to the solid work Moore did over seven innings, allowing only one run, on six hits and a walk, while striking out nine. Plus, of his 95 pitches, only 25 were balls.