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)

Listless Tampa Bay Rays lose 5-2 to Detroit Tigers

ST. PETERSBURG — First baseman Carlos Peña made the rounds in the quiet Rays clubhouse after Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Tigers, chatting one-on-one with several teammates.

Peña, seemingly always optimistic, acknowledged that Tampa Bay (40-36), which has lost four in a row and 11 of its past 16, is in the midst of "the toughest stretch we've gone through this year."

And it won't get any easier as the scuffling Rays offense is scheduled to face reigning AL Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander tonight at Tropicana Field.

Peña's message was simple: accept the struggles but don't carry it on your back, rather persevere.

"We don't want to fold our tents. We want to take that extra step," Peña said. "It might be that extra step that gets us right where we want to be. This is a long year, and to think that we were going to go through the whole entire year without facing adversity is foolish. We've been facing a lot of adversity as a ballclub. I keep on saying it's how we handle the adversity that we're going through at this moment that is going to define us as champions or not."

As much as the Rays lineup has been hampered by injuries, including the prolonged absence of third baseman Evan Longoria, manager Joe Maddon said they need a consistent offense to dig out of it. Tampa Bay, outscored 26-8 in the four-game losing streak, picked up just four hits Thursday that were not by Brooks Conrad (who had two doubles) in front of 20,532.

Tampa Bay's Nos. 1-5 hitters went 1-for-18 Thursday, and the Rays are hitting an AL-low .222 in June.

"I think we need to start feeding off our offense a little bit and that will pick up our spirits," Maddon said. "When you're not hitting, it kind of looks bad or flat because you can't overcome any of the mistakes you're making."

Right-hander James Shields gave up a career-high 14 hits, matching a club record, but he battled in allowing four runs over 7? innings. He also committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt in the sixth that led to a run.

"They found every single hole they could possibly find," Shields said. "It wasn't a very good day. You can compete all you want, you can go deep into the game all you want, but the bottom line is we lost the game, and I've got to do a better job."

It could have been worse had it not been for a great play by second baseman Jeff Keppinger. With two on and no outs in the third, Keppinger's made a leaping catch on a Miguel Cabrera liner, then tagged second to complete the double play. The Rays weren't as fortunate, however, in the fourth, when Peña charged a slow chopper by Quintin Berry, and in trying to throw Brennan Boesch out at home he fumbled the exchange, which allowed a run to score.

"I'm going to err on the side of aggressiveness," Peña said. "The only thing was that I erred."

Maddon said the team's "offensive malaise" includes lacking the big hit with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-6 in the game, including Peña striking out with a runner on second (fifth inning) and third (seventh).

As a result, Tampa Bay, which was in first place June 11, is 6½ behind of the Yankees in the AL East, and two games out of last.

"We're going to make peace with this, we're going to brush off and start from scratch," Peña said. "It may be a huge climb up, but it all starts with one step."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tigers 5

Rays 2

Listless Tampa Bay Rays lose 5-2 to Detroit Tigers

06/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 1:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jerseys worn by Tim Tebow fans commemorate the various phases of his athletic career


    His fans have come out in droves during Tim Tebow Week in Tampa Bay, more than doubling the average in Clearwater and Tampa Bay. And they've come adorned with jerseys commemorating the many phases of Tebow's …

    Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]
  2. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays


    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  5. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.