Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays home opener

Less than hoped for

ST. PETERSBURG — There was a lot going on in the Rays' home opener Tuesday.

Starter Matt Garza walked off the field with a nerve problem in his arm that landed him on the disabled list. Manager Joe Maddon was kicked out for arguing a call about B.J. Upton being called out after running the bases with one shoe. And that was after Upton had already stolen home.

There was the usual pomp and unusual circumstance, with smoke and fire accompanying the pregame introductions and retired Bucs star Mike Alstott and Gov. Charlie Crist making first pitches. The lively Tropicana Field sellout crowd of 36,048 provided loud cheers and long boos.

"You saw some things today that you don't normally see," Upton said.

But the difference in the 6-5 loss to the Mariners came down to what happened when nothing was supposed to happen.

The Rays were leading 5-4 in the sixth, the Mariners had men on first and third and Adrian Beltre popped a ball up behind the plate that rookie catcher Shawn Riggans made an easy play on and asked for timeout.

Time, though, wasn't out, and the Rays soon were as Riggans' admitted "mental lapse" was key to the sequence that put the Mariners ahead to stay.

Jose Lopez, the runner on first, made a heads-up play and broke for second, in theory daring Riggans to throw down, knowing Ichiro Suzuki could score from third before a return throw. In theory, shortstop Jason Bartlett or second baseman Akinori Iwamura is supposed to head to the mound, and Riggans is supposed to throw the ball there, freezing both runners.

In reality, Riggans, in his 12th big-league start, did nothing. With Lopez on second, the Rays walked Raul Ibanez to load the bases and pitch to Richie Sexson (a strategy that had already backfired in the third), and Sexson delivered a two-run single that gave Seattle the 6-5 lead.

"I just have to chalk it up to being a mental letdown on my half," Riggans said. "I turned my back to pick up my mask and thought I had timeout, but he didn't grant me timeout. It's not the umpire's fault; it's my fault. I have to be more aware of what's going on. &

"It's a one-run loss and I feel really (bad) about that. I feel like I let us down for a minute there. One little mental lapse and there goes two runs and those are the last runs that were scored."

They didn't have to be. In the seventh, Upton came in to third seemingly ahead of Lopez's relay throw for what would have been a one-out triple, even more impressive because his right shoe fell off in the batter's box. But umpire Hunter Wendelstedt didn't see it that way and sent Maddon on his way for disagreeing.

"I thought I was safe," Upton said. "I knew where the ball was. I wouldn't have gone if I didn't know I was going to get there. I took a chance, and he called me out."

There was even more, as Riggans hit his first major-league home run and Carlos Pena his team-high third, and as the bullpen worked 61/3 impressive innings and will get help today with the recall of Jae Kuk Ryu.

"It was a great effort," Maddon said.

But it wasn't enough.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Mariners 6

Rays 5

Less than hoped for 04/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 10, 2008 10:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play

    Sports

    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  2. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight

    Blogs

    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is still slated to start tonight, even after throwing 12 pitches to get the final three outs - and the save - in Sunday's …

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.
  3. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  4. After state, academics will trump athletics for King ace Brian Lee

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — Brian Lee can still see himself on the pitcher's mound at Venice High School. Four years ago he was a freshman left-handed reliever just trying to keep King's state championship dreams alive.

    Pitcher Brian Lee participates in a practice at King High in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, May 26, 2017.
  5. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)