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)

Rafael Soriano has rare blown save as Tampa Bay Rays lose 5-4 to Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO — Rafael Soriano's problems started Saturday night in his hotel room, when he tossed and turned and slept only a few hours. The Rays' All-Star closer still didn't feel well overall Sunday morning when he showed up at the Rogers Centre, but asking for the day off wasn't a consideration.

"That would not be me," Soriano said later. "I tried to go and do the best that I can."

But Sunday, unlike so many other days during his remarkable season, Soriano wasn't good enough, allowing a two-run walkoff homer to Adam Lind in the ninth inning. And what, with the Yankees' later loss, would have been a victory that propelled the Rays back into first place instead became a stunning 5-4 loss.

"It just happens," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's going to happen to everybody. This guy's been absolutely brilliant for us all year, and they got him today."

The loss dropped the Rays to 86-56, keeping them a half-game behind the Yankees in the AL East heading into the three-game series opening tonight at Tropicana Field and cutting their wild-card lead over the Red Sox and White Sox to 7½ games, though still a comfortable margin with only 20 games left.

Down 3-1 after a somewhat encouraging performance from struggling starter Jeff Niemann — five innings, three runs, two hits, four walks — the Rays rallied to tie in the sixth, taking advantage of some Toronto sloppiness and getting another big hit from a warming Ben Zobrist.

Then they went ahead by manufacturing a run in the ninth: Brad Hawpe walking, breaking for second then going to third as Desmond Jennings singled through the hole, and scoring on B.J. Upton's sac fly.

That put the game in Soriano's right hand, and the Rays had every reason to feel good about it.

"He's spoiled us," Maddon said. "He's been so right on the whole year."

Soriano indeed had converted a league-leading 42 of his 44 save opportunities (one shy of the team record, set by Roberto Hernandez in 1999), and his last 19 in a row (which matched the team mark). And neither of his two failures was very dramatic: one the first, and only, time he was called on to pitch in the eighth inning (at Florida June 19); and the other when he allowed the tying runs in the ninth inning (at Baltimore July 20) and the game ended up going 13.

"Come on," reliever Randy Choate said, "he's been so great all year you count it as a win if we're up in the ninth."

All of which made Sunday's outcome so unusual. After seeing Soriano's elaborate routine of celebrating a save (gesturing skyward, untucking his shirts), the Rays instead saw him make a slow walk off the mound with his head down.

"Bad day," Soriano said. "I want to be perfect every time, but I know I can't be."

The end came suddenly. Aaron Hill greeted Soriano with a hard single to left on an 0-and-1 slider. Then Soriano got ahead of Adam Lind 0-and-2 and tried to get a fastball up and in, but it wasn't quite enough of either and Lind laced it on a line drive over the rightfield wall.

"To me, it was a good pitch," Soriano said. "I don't know how he hit the ball like that."

Soriano insisted he wasn't making excuses, was sure he'd feel better soon and that tough loss would be forgotten by the time he strolls into the Trop this afternoon.

"You can't win every single day," Soriano said. "I want to, but you cannot do it."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Blue Jays 5

Rays 4

Rafael Soriano has rare blown save as Tampa Bay Rays lose 5-4 to Toronto Blue Jays 09/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 13, 2010 8:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.