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)

Yankees 8, Rays 7

Rays' comeback falls short against Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG — The physical mistake that lost the game for the Rays on Monday night was obvious: Reliever Al Reyes hung a changeup with one out in the eighth inning that Robinson Cano knocked over the rightfield fence, giving the Yankees an 8-7 win and wasting a valiant Rays comeback from six runs down.

But it was the mental mistakes the Rays (6-7) made during the game — botching a pitchout, walking the No. 9 hitter to load the bases, getting caught stealing third down by five — that drew the ire of manager Joe Maddon, who was as openly critical of his players as he has been in his three seasons on the job.

"We made too many mental mistakes tonight," Maddon said. "That's the bad part of tonight. The good part is that we fought back. I love the fight. The enthusiasm. There's a lot of grit among our group. But we have to stop making the mental mistakes that do not permit us to win games like tonight. And that's what I'm most upset about.

"Otherwise, you saw a lot of real good things tonight. You saw a lot of skillful young athletes participate in a major-league game. But if we're going to win games like this, we can't make those mistakes. They've got to go away."

Maddon was right on all counts.

The comeback was impressive as the Rays — down 7-1 in the fourth after a rough start by Andy Sonnanstine, who allowed homers to three of the first six batters — roared back with seventh-inning homers by Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and rookie Evan Longoria in a four-batter span.

The lead didn't last, though, as Reyes — with two losses and a 9.00 ERA — got one out then hung the changeup to Cano, who had been dropped from the Yankees lineup because of a .170 average.

And the mistakes were inexcusable.

In the fourth, with the Yankees leading 3-1 and rallying with one out, the Rays guessed, correctly, that Melky Cabrera would break for second on the 1-0 pitch and called for a pitchout. But Sonnanstine didn't get it out enough, and Chad Moeller, just recalled from Triple A, slapped it through the infield. Instead of two outs and none on, the Yankees had first and third with one out.

"I thought that was a big turning point," Sonnanstine said. "To be honest with you, I don't know (what happened). It just didn't get out there enough. Maybe I need to do it more in the bullpen."

Making it worse, Sonnanstine then walked the No. 9 hitter, rookie Alberto Gonzalez, on four pitches to load the bases — "The big play," Maddon said — bringing up veteran Johnny Damon, who doubled in two runs, and was followed by Derek Jeter, who singled in two more.

"I was trying to be maybe a little bit too fine," Sonnanstine said.

That was Sonnanstine's problem all night, as he and catcher Shawn Riggans relied too much on his slider and, as Maddon said, "trying to trick them," getting away from the game plan of being aggressive and using his fastball primarily. "Not good," Maddon said.

"It wasn't like a solid decision we were going to go more offspeed," Sonnanstine said. "It was just kind of the flow of the game, and that's what happened, and it definitely didn't work out. It was a little bit of (the hitters dictating what to throw), a little bit the chemistry between me and Shawn."

Upton is one of several Rays with permission to steal at will, but his idea — no matter how sure he was he could make it — of trying to swipe third with no outs in the sixth, a rally brewing with men on first and second and the Rays down 7-2, just didn't work.

"Probably not a good situation to steal," Upton said.

No probably about it.

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Rays' comeback falls short against Yankees 04/14/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.