ST. PETERSBURG — Tigers star third baseman Miguel Cabrera hurt the Rays pretty good Friday night, with two home runs among his four-hit night that handed Tampa Bay a 6-3 loss at Tropicana Field.
But of more immediate concern to Tampa Bay is the pain suffered by its best hitter, third baseman Evan Longoria, who is likely out the rest of the weekend and potentially longer as he aggravated the plantar fasciitis in his right foot running to first base in the second inning.
Longoria, removed before the third inning, left the Trop in a walking boot, and the Rays hope to know more about his condition today. But manager Joe Maddon has said Longoria, the only Ray to start every game this season, will not play tonight and doubts Longoria will be back by Sunday.
"Of course I'm concerned," Maddon said. "But I don't know to the level yet until I get more information."
The Rays (41-39) knew they faced a tough task Friday against undefeated Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, who had already dominated them in a win June 6 in Detroit. Scherzer (12-0) held Tampa Bay hitless into the fourth and allowed just three runs and struck out nine in seven innings to become the first starter to begin a season 12-0 since Roger Clemens went 14-0 for the Red Sox in 1986.
"I'm pitching well," Scherzer said. "But the reason why I'm 12-0 is because of my offense."
That's why Maddon believed the Rays would have to outpitch Detroit, which has now beaten the Rays 15 of their past 19 meetings.
Rays rookie right-hander Alex Colome, making his third big-league start, believed he pitched well for most of his six-inning outing. But Colome said it was "one hitter that did the damage" on a couple of bad pitches. Cabrera hit a hanging changeup in the first for a two-run homer and an elevated cutter for a solo shot in the fourth to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
"That's what he does," Rays centerfielder Desmond Jennings said. "He's the best hitter in baseball right now."
Colome gave up his first earned runs of the season but held everyone other than Cabrera and Prince Fielder to 0-for-16.
Rays rookie rightfielder Wil Myers hit a 390-foot solo homer to left in the fifth. And he sparked a two-out rally in the seventh with a single, scoring from first on a Luke Scott double to pull the Rays within one.
But after Cabrera hit a one-out double in the eighth, Maddon brought in lefty Cesar Ramos to face Fielder, who crushed a two-run homer that went an estimated 414 feet. Cabrera joked it would have traveled to Miami had it not hit the C-ring catwalk in rightfield.
"We didn't play badly," Maddon said. "They just outhomered us."
The Rays hope Longoria's injury isn't that bad. The inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of his foot first popped up during the June 10-12 series against Boston, leading him to serve as the DH four straight games. Maddon said the foot improved, as Longoria started the past 11 games at third base, but that it felt tender Friday.
"Longo doesn't like to leave games," Maddon said. "He's played through a lot of different stuff. … I guess it just started to bite too much and that's why we had to do it."
Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.