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Off his game, Tampa Bay Rays' Wade Davis lauded for lasting six innings

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Wade Davis couldn't have begun Thursday's game with more momentum.

Davis had won four straight starts and on Wednesday had earned AL rookie of the month honors.

But in an 8-6 loss to the Twins, Davis didn't have it. Davis gave up six runs and a career-high 10 hits, saying nothing worked for him. After a four-run first inning, Davis bounced back to last six innings, but it was little solace afterward.

"A lot of things weren't there today," Davis said. "I didn't have good stuff. Didn't have a good fastball, didn't have good offspeed stuff. They got a couple hard-hit balls in the first inning, and did some damage on it."

The Twins, noticing a dip in Davis' fastball velocity — it was mostly between 88 and 90 mph, as opposed to his average of 92 — were aggressive, with six of the nine batters in the first inning swinging at the first pitch. They racked up five straight hits.

"He was getting some pitches up, and when you do that you get hurt in this league, you know that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Davis admitted his velocity was down, but said he feels fine physically. "I just didn't have it," he said.

Davis made the adjustment by mixing in more offspeed pitches, retiring nine straight batters before Jason Repko's solo homer in the fifth.

Manager Joe Maddon said he was concerned early, but praised Davis for battling and helping save the bullpen by lasting at least six innings. With long reliever Lance Cormier throwing 59 pitches the night before, the Rays were short-handed.

"We had no recourse there," Maddon said. "It would have been tough to put those innings together had we had to get him out early in that game."

MEDICAL MATTERS: 1B Carlos Peña (right foot) went through another set of drills before the game and said everything is progressing well, "getting better day by day.'' Peña said he has been available to pinch-hit the last two games and hopes to return to the lineup Saturday against the Jays.

Meanwhile, RHP Andy Sonnanstine (hamstring) went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts in his rehab start for Class A Charlotte. Maddon said Sonnanstine is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, and it's possible he could return then (which would require another roster move).

STAYING HEAVY: RHP Matt Garza said his past two outings have "got me back in a groove," and he hopes to continue that level of aggressiveness tonight in Toronto.

Garza, who has lost his two starts against the Jays this year, is well aware they lead the majors in homers (167) and says it's all about "making my pitches."

"I just have to keep the ball out of their hot spots," he said. "I'm going to go with my strengths: stay heavy, stay hard. And let's dance."

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton hit his 10th homer, joining teammate Carl Crawford as the only players in the majors with at least 10 homers and 30 steals. Upton went 7-for-17 with two homers, four RBIs in the series and is hitting .295 over his last 22 games. … RHP Joaquin Benoit had his string of 10 straight scoreless appearances halted; he had not allowed a run since July 16.

Off his game, Tampa Bay Rays' Wade Davis lauded for lasting six innings 08/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 6, 2010 12:15am]
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