Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays fall to ex-teammate Shields, White Sox

CHICAGO — The Rays had a lot of good things to say going into Monday's game about how much former ace James Shields meant to their individual and collective success.

Then they went out and helped Shields look like the Big Game James of old in a 7-1 loss to the White Sox.

"Obviously not the best representation today of what we think we're capable of,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "A frustrating game on all fronts."

Shields worked six solid innings in winning for the first time since July 26, putting a good finish on what has been a bad year for the Padres and White Sox, 6-18, 5.82 overall.

"You know it's in there because he's been so talented for so long," Cash said. "Just unfortunate he kind of put it together against us tonight."

Shields, traded to Kansas City in the December 2012 Wil Myers deal, beat the Rays for the third time in three tries, though noting Evan Longoria was the only former teammate in the lineup Monday. "It's always nice to face your old team and get a win," Shields said.

Rays starter Drew Smyly saw his unbeaten streak end at 11 as he allowed three runs while working only five innings, saying "I felt like I pitched better than the box score.''

The teams swapped early runs, but the Sox went ahead to stay with a run in the fourth, built the lead to 3-1 off Smyly in the fifth then tacked on with two homers off reliever Enny Romero.

Among other frustrations for the Rays, Brad Miller's first-inning drive to center one-hopped the wall which prevented Longoria from scoring, the White Sox turned four double plays, Smyly allowed Todd Frazier to steal third leading to the go-ahead run in the fourth, and Mikie Mahtook was indecisive leaving third on an eighth-inning grounder and got thrown out at the plate without sliding.

"A dumb play by me,'' Mahtook said. "I got caught in no-man's land.''

The Rays have lost eight of 10 in dropping to 65-91.

HONORING JOSE: At the suggestion of SS Alexei Ramirez, another Cuban who came to the U.S. to play, the Rays further honored Jose Fernandez by hanging a jersey in their dugout with his name and No. 16, a gesture several other teams have done as well. The Marlins pitcher and Alonso High graduate was killed early Sunday in a boat accident. There also was a pregame moment of silence.

"It was really a sad thing, and I think about his family and everything that he gave up to come here,'' Ramirez said through team interpreter George Pappas. "A difficult thing to really come to grips with."

RAMIREZ RETURN: Monday was the first game back at U.S. Cellular Field for Ramirez, who played the previous eight seasons with the Sox. "It's nice to be back here where I started," Ramirez said. "A little different being on the visitors side.''

Ramirez said he enjoyed seeing familiar faces around the stadium. The feeling was not exactly mutual during his first at-bat when one of the stadium video boards showed his name with a photo of Hank Conger, who doesn't bear much resemblance.

KK SORE: CF Kevin Kiermaier was not in the lineup after his left wrist was sorer than expected following Sunday's plunking by Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez, but he hopes to return tonight. "Even though it was a changeup he got me pretty good," Kiermaier said. "The hand area is always a sensitive place. I wasn't too thrilled with how I felt (Monday) morning and not a whole lot's changed."

Kiermaier was hit on the same hand that he broke, and had surgically repaired, in May.

MISCELLANY: The Rays became the 22nd team in MLB history to both hit and give up 200 homers. … The 23 strikeouts by Rays hitters Sunday were the most ever for a team in a game of 10 or fewer innings, though three short of the overall record. The 21 Ks through nine would have been a record. … RHP Chris Archer got a cool present for his 28th birthday Monday as his parents made a surprise trip from their North Carolina home to spend the day with him.

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