Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Royals snap Rays' seven-game winning streak

ST. PETERSBURG — The back-to-back homers by the Royals in the 10th inning punctuated the Rays' 7-4 loss in Monday's matinee.

But long before reliever Dan Wheeler missed his location on two pitches, Tampa Bay missed out on more than its fair share of opportunities to secure the sweep.

Whether it was their hitting with runners in scoring position (1-for-19) or uncharacteristic defensive lapses, the Rays took a detour from the formula that put them on pace for the biggest one-season turnaround in history.

In that sense, it was fitting that one inning after Carlos Pena delivered a tying homer in the ninth off unflappable Royals closer Joakim Soria, many of the 16,293 left the Trop before Tampa Bay's final at-bat, likely sensing it just wasn't the Rays' day.

"We are at that point where we want to win every night and we expect to," manager Joe Maddon said. "And we had a chance to today, and we did not 'cause we didn't play our regular game."

The Rays (55-33) left Monday night for New York having matched their winningest homestand of the season and having won 11 of their past 13. They still boast the best record in the majors and a four-game lead on the second-place Red Sox. But as the Rays packed their bags, a tinge of frustration was revealed on their faces, with Wheeler summing up their 6-1 home-stand — and growing expectations — the best: "7-0 is better."

To the Rays it wasn't that they lost, it was how they lost.

"We can't win them all, but it's the way you lose," Carl Crawford said. "There's a way to win and a way to lose, and today we lost in a manner we normally don't lose in, so it's kind of disappointing to us."

Consider the defense, which has been a cornerstone for the club's remarkable rise to the top of baseball. The Rays made some nice plays Monday but didn't make some routine ones that cost them runs.

In the third, Crawford, who was making his first start in centerfield in more than two years (to give B.J. Upton a day off), admitted "lackadaisical" effort on charging a two-out Ross Gload single to right-center. Mark Teahen — already running thanks to a 3-2 count — scored from first base.

"Just a bad effort on my part," Crawford said.

Then, in the 10th, rookie Evan Longoria, who is having a Gold Glove-type season, made a throwing error that allowed the go-ahead run to reach. Wheeler then intentionally walked Gload to set up a double-play situation before John Buck's homer.

"That's what happens when you miss your spots," Wheeler said.

The Rays also missed their typical timely hitting. Every starter except Cliff Floyd stranded a runner in scoring position.

The Rays squandered a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the second, and resident walkoff king Gabe Gross struck out with Longoria on second in the ninth.

"We definitely pitched well enough to win," Maddon said. "We just didn't have the timely hitting."

Rays starter Matt Garza, who had been sparkling in his past four starts (3-1, 1.55 ERA), said he "didn't have my best stuff" but tossed his fifth straight quality start, giving up three runs in 62/3 innings. But in the end, it wasn't enough.

"Today," Pena said, "Was a tough day for us."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Royals 7

Rays 4

10 innings

Royals snap Rays' seven-game winning streak 07/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 7:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.