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)

Rangers 12, Rays 6

Sloppy defense and pitching doom Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Monte Kiffin does better with the Bucs.

After an inspiring pregame speech from Tampa Bay's football defensive guru, the Rays trailed by a touchdown early, played sloppily in the field and gave up season-high numbers on the scoreboard.

As if the 12-6 loss to Texas weren't bad enough, former Rays prospect Josh Hamilton delivered the game-sealing blow, an eighth-inning grand slam.

To make it worse, the crowd of 10,511 was the lowest of the season at Tropicana Field.

"We had a bad night," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays went in with the best record in the majors at 31-20 but certainly didn't play like it, allowing seven of the first 14 Rangers to score and 16 hits overall.

Andy Sonnanstine had another rough start, allowing 10 hits and seven runs (though only two earned) over five innings, but both he and Maddon insisted it was nothing more than a matter of location.

"He's not been hitting the glove over the last two starts," Maddon said. "Physically he's fine, his stuff is fine, he's just missing his spots."

Sonnanstine's night might not have been nearly as long, or as short, but a rare error by third baseman Evan Longoria, on a sharp grounder by Hamilton, extended the second inning as the Rangers scored five and opened a 7-0 lead.

"We made a mistake that led to several runs, which we had not been doing," Maddon said.

They'd actually gone eight games without an error, two shy of the team record, and had made four in a 31-game span, the tidiest such stretch by any major-league team since the 1998 Orioles.

That was the only official error, but it was a rough night overall, with balls bouncing, skipping and rolling the wrong way. Longoria twice watched balls roll slowly up the third-base line and stay fair by the slimmest of margins.

"It was a tough day to play third base," Longoria said.

As poorly as the Rays started, they had their chances after two-run homers by Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske (tying Carlos Pena for the team lead with 10). They got the tying run to the plate three times in the sixth and seventh but got no closer than 7-5.

Then Hamilton, who was 0-for-4 Monday in his much-anticipated Tropicana Field debut, put it out of reach with a blast off reliever J.P. Howell and ran his major-league-leading RBI total to 58.

"It was great," Hamilton said. "Things had been frustrating here because I had a little trouble seeing. I saw the ball leave his hand, it looked like a sinker in, I closed my eyes and swung the bat. When I looked up, there it went."

Monday, Maddon said he was curious to see Hamilton play. Tuesday, he saw enough. "I didn't want to see it that much," he said. "I could have just heard about it — that's okay."

As well as the Rays have played, and as impressively as they've bounced back from tough losses, Maddon was more impressed with the fight they showed than concerned about the loss.

And, of course, Kiffin wasn't really to blame.

"Monte was great, regardless," Maddon said. "It wasn't his fault. He's welcome back anytime."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Sloppy defense and pitching doom Rays 05/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?

    College

    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  2. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  3. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks
  5. Rays series preview: Who are the Rangers?

    Blogs

    The road trip is done, but the Rays will still face a western team, as they tasks on the Rangers in a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Here's the information you need to know about Texas before the action kicks off.

    Record: 45-50, fourth in AL West

    Starter Tyson Ross, left, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, right, have struggled immensely this season.