Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

James Shields sets strikeout record, but Tampa Bay Rays lose 1-0 to Baltimore Orioles

AIMING FOR THE SKY: Closer Fernando Rodney shoots his imaginary arrow as Times beat writer Marc Topkin ponders its landing spot during a ceremony naming Rodney the Rays MVP.


AIMING FOR THE SKY: Closer Fernando Rodney shoots his imaginary arrow as Times beat writer Marc Topkin ponders its landing spot during a ceremony naming Rodney the Rays MVP.

ST. PETERSBURG — If Tuesday was indeed RHP James Shields final start in a Rays uniform, he sure went out in style.

Shields, the long-time staff leader and workhorse, struck out a career-high and club-record 15 in a complete game against the Orioles.

"That was probably the best game of my career right there," Shields said.

That's why the Rays felt so bad they couldn't back Shields up, mustering just two hits in a 1-0 loss to the Orioles in front of 13,460 at Tropicana Field.

"It honestly breaks your heart," C Chris Gimenez said.

It was the Rays' fifth 1-0 loss this season, the most in the AL since the Twins had five in 2008. Manager Joe Maddon, who has said it's a "mortal sin" to waste good pitching, went a step further in Shields' case.

"It's almost 'original sin' there," he said. "You need pure baptism to get rid of that right there."

Maddon said that was the best he has seen Shields and the best performance by a Rays pitcher all season. Shields, who had command of all his pitches and hit 95 mph with his fastball, passed LHP David Price's club record of 14 K's on 106 pitches.

"That was probably the best pitched game that we've had against us all year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

"For a guy to strike out 15, go nine and get the loss, you don't see that very often," Orioles RF Chris Davis said.

Shields hopes the team picks up his $10.25 million option next season, and Maddon would love to have him back. The fans sent him off with a standing ovation as he walked off in the ninth.

"I knew this was my last game and I wanted to let it all hang out," he said. "I wanted to end on a good note, end on a bang."

Though the Rays' playoff hopes ended late Monday night, Maddon vowed they would play it "straight up," using regulars like 3B Evan Longoria, because the game meant something to the Orioles. The same goes tonight.

Shields' only blemish was hanging a changeup in the fourth to Davis, who blasted a 440-foot homer off the roof of Batter's Eye restaurant in center.

"That was probably the farthest home run I've ever given up in my career," Shields said.

Shields said he told a bat boy to deliver a joke to Davis: "Can he hit it any further?"

"He said, 'I'm sorry, I'll try to hit it 480 feet next time,' " Shields said, smiling. "I thought that was pretty funny."

WITH HONORS: Where RHP Fernando Rodney's historic season puts him in the American League Cy Young race remains to be seen, but he picked up a significant honor Tuesday.

Rodney was named team MVP in the annual voting by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Rodney, who has 47 saves and a reliever record 0.6053 ERA, received five of the eight first-place votes, finishing ahead of 20-game winner Price and SS Ben Zobrist. Rodney was honored at a luncheon and in a pregame ceremony.

"It's something special," Rodney said. "I've never had it."

LHP Matt Moore was a unanimous selection as the top rookie, with C Jose Lobaton second and RHP Chris Archer third. Shields won the Paul C. Smith Champion award, given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. Zobrist was second and Price third.

Joe Smith can be reached at

James Shields sets strikeout record, but Tampa Bay Rays lose 1-0 to Baltimore Orioles 10/02/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 7:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down


    UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

    Rays lineup:
    Smith cf,
    Dickerson lf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Morrison 1b,
    Souza rf,
    Ramos c,
    Beckham 2b,
    Hechavarria ss,
    Cobb p

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.
  2. Cal Foote was picked 14th overall by the Lightning in the NHL Draft.
  3. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe


    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  4. Joe Maddon: What my time in Tampa Bay meant, and still means, to me

    The Heater

    Editor's note: The Rays next week in Chicago will meet up for the first time with former manager Joe Maddon, who is in his third year leading the Cubs after nine with the Rays. In advance of the Tuesday-Wednesday series, we asked Maddon to share his thoughts in a column on what his time in Tampa Bay meant to …

    Joe Maddon waits to greet B.J. Upton after Upton's home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in 2008 at Tropicana Field. [Times files (2008)]
  5. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.