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)

Tampa Bay Rays break 18-game losing streak in Cleveland with win over Indians

CLEVELAND — With the Rays' equally puzzling and frustrating losing streak at Progressive Field officially over after Saturday's 6-3 win over the Indians, manager Joe Maddon was in a good enough mood to joke.

"I didn't know it was as easy as acquiring an Indian, and all of a sudden you have a chance to win," he said. "There's got to be some form of reconciliation the moment you take a former tribesman and bring him on your team. The voodoo gods, they lightened up (Saturday)."

Yes, the Rays snapped an 18-game losing streak in Cleveland — dating to September 2005 — on the same night that former Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach made his first start for Tampa Bay at Progressive Field. Shoppach did have a big hit, a two-out single that sparked a tying three-run rally in the fifth.

But for the Rays (58-38), the feel-good win, which brought them to within three games of the AL East-leading Yankees, was a team effort, and far from easy.

Early, it appeared Indians right-hander Mitch Talbot, a former Rays prospect, was on track for a special night. Admittedly more pumped up facing his former team, Talbot came out firing, striking out a club-record-tying six straight starting with the second batter of the game.

"I thought I saw Denny McLain," said Maddon, referring to the 31-game winner for the Tigers in 1968.

Said first baseman Carlos Peña: "He's got electric stuff. He's got an unbelievable changeup; it's one of the best I've seen."

Meanwhile, Rays left-hander David Price wasn't as sharp, with the two Indians he walked in the first two innings eventually scoring, on a Shin-Soo Choo double in the first and a Shelley Duncan two-run homer in the second.

But after Talbot held the Rays to one hit through four innings, that changed in the fifth, and it was Shoppach — acquired by the Rays in an offseason trade of Talbot — who started the rally with a two-out single. Jason Bartlett followed with a single, and both scored on a Ben Zobrist replay-assisted, three-run homer to left.

Zobrist's 395-foot blast, originally scored a triple, hit off the black railing above the leftfield wall. After Maddon argued his case, it took only 80 seconds for the umpires to make it Zobrist's first homer since June 9.

Zobrist said he originally didn't think it was out, and considering how he was "scuffling just to hit it hard … I would have been happy with double or triple or whatever it ended up as," he said. "So the fact it was a home run just made it a little bit sweeter."

The Rays then chased Talbot in the sixth, after Peña's go-ahead solo homer and B.J. Upton's RBI double.

"We just kept coming," Peña said. "We could have gotten discouraged after such a difficult start. It was about tenacity, staying with our plan."

Price settled in, scattering three hits over seven innings for his AL-high-tying 13th win of the season, putting the forgettable Cleveland streak in the books.

"I think after last year it was kind of like, all right, we're going to win at some point, just don't worry about it," Zobrist said. "Then, (Friday) night, we lose in a rain-shortened game, you just shrug your shoulders and say it's going to end soon, because the odds were in our favor."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Today

Rays at Indians

When/where: 1:05; Progressive Field, Cleveland. TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Tampa Bay Rays break 18-game losing streak in Cleveland with win over Indians 07/24/10 [Last modified: Sunday, July 25, 2010 12:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494