DETROIT — The Rays wasted a chance to wrap things up hours earlier Friday.
The primary reason they lost to the Tigers 6-4 was the number of chances they wasted through the night, leaving 14 men on and going 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"We had plenty of opportunities," manager Joe Maddon said. "We hit some balls well at the right moment, just at people. You can't help those moments."
But that wasn't their only concern as Andy Sonnanstine extended his winless streak to seven starts with an atypically not sharp effort, starting with walks to the first two Tigers hitters.
Like Scott Kazmir the day before, Sonnanstine was disappointed to not deliver with the team on the verge of a title.
"I felt like I let the team down in a sense," he said. "I'm just thankful that I'll have another game to pitch in at some point in time in the postseason, hopefully."
Most likely, Sonnanstine would be the Rays' fourth starter for the playoffs. He hasn't won since Aug. 18, though he has pitched well at times.
"The couple walks is uncharacteristic of him early in the game like that," Maddon said.
The Rays did get to take another look at rookie lefty David Price, who is being considered for a postseason bullpen spot. Price faced five batters — hitting the first, walking the second and retiring the next three — and said afterward he felt fine.
Sonnanstine gave up three runs in the first, including the first of two homers on the night by Tampa native Gary Sheffield, the 498th and 499th of his illustrious career.
The two runs Sonnanstine allowed in the second made it 5-0, and as they often do, the Rays rallied to make a game of it.
B.J. Upton was at the center of the action, knocking in one on a fielder's choice grounder, doubling and scoring their second (on Carlos Pena's 102nd RBI) and hitting his first homer since Aug. 17.
Sheffield's second homer made it 6-3 in the eighth, and the Rays got only one run after loading the bases with one out in the ninth.
"We swung the bats pretty well, and we didn't catch any breaks," Pena said.
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.