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Rays' Hellickson wastes another big lead

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) leaves the mound after a bases loaded home run in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres, tying the game at six at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) leaves the mound after a bases loaded home run in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres, tying the game at six at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jeremy Hellickson didn't really have an explanation for what happened, how for the third straight start he let a comfortable lead slip away.

He just knows he has to find a way to stop it from happening again.

"I've got to do a better job when they give me a lead like that," Hellickson said after losing a 6-2 lead in Saturday's 8-7 win over the Padres. "I'm very happy we won the game. At the same time, I'm very disappointed with myself. It's been three, four games in a row now I've done the same thing."

The pattern that's developing isn't good. In his past three starts, he has had leads of 5-0, 7-0 and 6-2, and he gave away the chance for a win all three times. Saturday he was more concerned with the walk he allowed to Carlos Quentin to start San Diego's seventh-inning rally than the grand slam that tied the score at 6.

"I can't do that when we're up like that. I can't walk the leadoff guy," he said. "I'm very disappointed in the pitch I made right there. I've got to make the guy earn his way on."

The grand slam came on the sixth consecutive changeup to pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman, and Hellickson said he could have done better there, too.

ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT: RHP Alex Cobb had a better appreciation Saturday for his historical accomplishments in his unusual — and in some ways unprecedented — 13-strikeout, 42/3-inning Friday outing.

Cobb became the first pitcher in major-league history to strike out all four batters he faced in an inning and still allow a run. That happened in the third when the Padres' Will Venable struck out but reached on a wild pitch, stole second and third, and scored on a balk.

And Cobb became the first pitcher to strike out as many as 13 without working at least five innings, well past the previous record of 10 strikeouts. "Any time you're linked to something that's never happened before, it's pretty cool," he said.

A LONG WALK: 3B Evan Longoria ended his day with a 360-foot dash around the bases; he started it with a 1-mile walk as part of the PNC Bank Miles for Moffitt event at USF benefiting cancer research that drew 6,500 participants. "It was a great turnout, and it was great to see all the survivors," Longoria said. "There were lots of touching stories. Cancer is one of those things that we've all been affected by." … Longoria logged his team-record fifth walkoff homer, seventh walkoff hit and 12th go-ahead RBI in the ninth inning or later. He leads the majors with nine homers since April 15.

JENNINGS UPDATE: CF Desmond Jennings was out of the lineup for a second straight game and could be off again today due to soreness in his groin. "I think he might be fine by (today)," manager Joe Maddon said. "I like the idea of giving him a rest right now. I think with a little respite right now, this guy's going to be even better when we bring him on back. … Truly, there's nothing wrong."

MINOR MATTERS: Top pitching prospect Chris Archer, scratched from his last start at Triple-A Durham due to a calf bruise, left after three innings (54 pitches) Saturday. … Bulls LHP Frank De Los Santos went on the DL with a triceps issue.

MISCELLANY: The Rays' four straight wins match their season high. … LHP Cesar Ramos worked an impressive 21/3 innings vs. his former team for his second career win. … Kenny Loggins, who did a postgame concert, threw out the first pitch. It was all right. … The Rays plan to keep their rotation in order through Monday's offday, so they'll start LHP Matt Moore (vs. Boston's John Lackey), LHP David Price (vs. LHP Jon Lester) and Cobb (vs. LHP Felix Doubront). … C Jose Lobaton and RHP Josh Lueke will sign autographs for kids at 12:30 today along the rightfield line.

Rays' Hellickson wastes another big lead 05/11/13 [Last modified: Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:00am]
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