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)

Seattle Mariners hammer Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields for four home runs

SEATTLE — As inconsistent as everything else has been in their down-and-up-and-down season, the Rays had taken great comfort in expecting solid starts every time James Shields took the mound.

Until Thursday night.

Shields lasted only four innings while doing something even more unexpected, allowing four homers to the Mariners, who hadn't gone deep four times in a home game in nearly four years.

"I didn't do a very good job,'' Shields said.

Combined with the expected weak offensive showing against Seattle's Cy Young-winning ace Felix Hernandez, the Rays took a rocky first step on their 12-day country-crossing journey, losing to the Mariners 8-2.

That makes it nine losses in their past 13 games, and 12 of 18 since they were a season-high eight games over .500 at 23-15, as they dropped to 29-27.

The game was billed as a prime pitching pairing. Hernandez held the Rays to one run on five hits while striking out 11 during his seven innings, but Shields failed to live up to his end.

"I didn't see that one coming," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's been so money. The Mariners are a nice ballclub, but they're not known right now for those kind of outbursts. Based on what he had been doing, that kind of surprised me a bit.''

After a 1-2-3 first inning, Shields allowed a five-run second — his worst inning since September — including home runs to DH Jack Cust and No. 9 hitting-leftfielder Carlos Peguero, whose spot in the lineup has been in question given his 0-for-14 skid, .169 average, two homers and eight RBIs he had entering the game. (Another error, this one by shaky fill-in first baseman Felipe Lopez, hurt, too.)

"I didn't do a good job of damage control in the second inning,'' Shields said.

As if that inning wasn't bad enough, Shields allowed a run in the third after uncharacteristic back-to-back walks, then two more on homers in the fourth — by Peguero, the 24-year-old who played last season at Double A, and Justin Smoak.

Shields said the problem was that he left too many pitches up. Maddon said he thought Shields was overthrowing and didn't have his usual good command. Catcher Kelly Shoppach pinned it on inconsistencies in Shields' delivery.

"I've got to get better and move on,'' Shields said. "That's unacceptable.''

Shields hadn't allowed four homers in a game since his major-league-record-tying six-pack of bombs in August in Toronto. (He had allowed only eight in his first 11 starts, and five over the past nine.) The Mariners hadn't hit four in a game at spacious Safeco Field since June 23, 2007, vs. Cincinnati.

Shields had made nine consecutive quality starts — six or more innings, three or fewer runs — and had gone at least seven innings an AL-best 10 times, including a major-league-most nine straight.

But Thursday, on a crisp night in the Pacific Northwest, he lasted just four, allowing eight runs (seven earned) to inflate his ERA from 2.15, which was third best in the AL, to 2.77. Compounding the problem, he forced the Rays to get four innings out of their bullpen, which was already down a man and certainly seeking to conserve assets for tonight when Andy Sonnanstine is starting, though Juan Cruz mitigated the damage by working three of the innings, his longest outing since 2007.

Essentially, Shoppach said, Shields was due.

"We can't expect this guy to throw a shutout and throw nine innings every time,'' Shoppach said. "As good as he's been, as well as he's thrown the ball this year, did we think that he'd go the whole season without giving up a five-spot? Sure, we'd love to say that, but this is a hard game to play.''

About the only positive for the Rays was the eighth-inning homer by Matt Joyce off lefty reliever Aaron Laffey. It was Joyce's third in his past 13 at-bats against southpaws, and his 10th overall.

The Rays didn't figure to do much against Hernandez, with Maddon acknowledging afterward that their best hope was to win 2-1 or 3-2, and he manipulated his lineup accordingly to try to maximize its chances. That meant moving Joyce, the majors' leading hitter (now at .364), into the No. 2 spot, for the first time since he was a Tiger in 2008, and dropping Johnny Damon into the cleanup spot for the first time since he was a Royal, in 1999. Ben Zobrist hit first and Evan Longoria third.

Those four combined to get on base six times (four hits and two walks), but Hernandez was still too much as the Mariners improved to 7-0 in games he starts against the Rays at home.

How good was he?

"What a question,'' Shoppach said. "Well, we knocked him out after seven (innings) and 11 punchouts, so ... "

Mariners 8

Rays 2

XX innings

Seattle Mariners hammer Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields for four home runs 06/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2011 8:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Buccaneers-Bills: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo on Sunday:

    173

    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) screams in jubilation after running for a first down late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Bills roundtable: Deonte Thompson's late catch spelled 'instant disaster' for Bucs

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Adam Humphries' fumble led to the Bills' game-winning field goal in Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo. But the Bills' first play after the Bucs finally took the lead was almost as deadly.

    The Buffalo Bills' Deonte Thompson (10) catches a pass in front of Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) during the first half. [AP photo]
  4. Bucs-Bills: Instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo:

    YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

    Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) intercepts a Jameis Winston (3) pass intended for tight end Cameron Brate (84) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs overcome 11-point deficit, then allow game to slip away, 30-27, to Bills

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — In less than a minute, a hard-fought win — and perhaps much more — slipped away from the Bucs, who gave up 10 points in the final four minutes and lost to the Bills, …

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) tries to turn the corner as Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) forces him out of bounds during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]