Rays drop series finale to Tigers, 5-2
DETROIT - Rays manager Joe Maddon knew the difficult task his team was facing Thursday in Tigers righthander Max Scherzer, who was off to an undefeated start.
“Unbelievable,” Maddon said. “You have to out-pitch him to beat him.”
And though righthander Roberto Hernandez pitched okay in a 5 1/3 inning outing, it wasn’t enough in a 5-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (8-0) shut the Rays down, allowing just one run and striking out nine (including Evan Longoria three times) in seven innings, as Tampa Bay (32-27) ended its eight-game road trip with a 5-3 mark as they begin a 10-game homestand at Tropicana Field Friday night.
Maddon was hoping to see a similar Hernandez to the one that had his best outing of the season last week in Miami, coming one out away from a one-run complete game. Hernandez started off strong, but gave up four straight hits in the Tigers two-run fourth, including a two-run homer by his former Indians catcher, Victor Martinez.
The Tigers added another run off Hernandez in the fifth, with No. 9 hitter Don Kelly leading off with a single, avoiding getting caught in the double play by running on an Andy Dirks groundout, then scoring on a Miguel Cabrera two-out single.
The Rays got one back in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by James Loney, who had an RBI infield single in the eighth.
Hernandez was relieved in the sixth, having allowed 10 hits and struck out six, with LHP Jake McGee taking over. McGee would leave the game in the seventh with a left shin contusion, and is day-to-day, after getting struck by a Cabrera hard grounder.