CHICAGO — The Rays were talking a bit Tuesday afternoon about the last time they'd been to U.S. Cellular Field and were the unhappy victims of Mark Buerhle's perfect game.
Tuesday night wasn't much better.
The Rays managed three hits (all by Carl Crawford, two that didn't leave the infield) in a 4-1 loss to the struggling White Sox and looked nothing like the winningest nor the hottest team in the majors, which they no longer are with the end of their seven-game winning streak.
"Just one of those games," Crawford said. "We just didn't play well."
They went down without much of fight at the plate against Sox lefty John Danks and closer Bobby Jenks, striking out 10 times and getting only three batters to the plate in six of the nine innings and no more than five in any frame.
They got a good, but not good enough — or long enough — start from David Price, who was knocked out in the sixth and said afterward: "I didn't have anything."
And they were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, messing up a pair of relay throws that led to the first two Chicago runs.
"Those are plays we usually make and we just didn't make them," Ben Zobrist said.
Manager Joe Maddon considered those the most grievous mistakes of the night.
"We'd been making all those plays and that's why we've been able to win all those games,'' Maddon said. "Those are common plays that we talk about and we work on and we have to do a better job with, basically. …
"Those are the little things we talk about. People will look at it and not many people will analyze it that way, but those are two significant plays in tonight's game.''
The first came in the first, after Crawford's 415-foot blast over the rightfield bullpen put them on top. Paul Konerko laced a ball off the top of the rightfield wall and both Zobrist and Carlos Peña whiffed on Gabe Kapler's throw as Carlos Quentin scored from first.
And the second came in the second, as Alex Rios knocked a Price pitch off the right-centerfield fence and the relay from Jason Bartlett came right over his head and zoomed past a startled Evan Longoria, allowing Rios to score.
"Not much you can do,'' Longoria said. "I wish I could have jumped in front of it or something, but I didn't want to get hit in the face because I couldn't see it.''
Price is hard on himself in victory, and he was downright brutal on Tuesday, short with his answers and thoughts after being knocked out in the sixth after 93 pitches. "I didn't pitch well,'' he said. "I got out-pitched. That's it.''
He was right, because Danks was dominant as the Rays couldn't do anything. In the most key situation, two on and two outs in the sixth, he fell behind Zobrist 2-and-0 and came back to strike him out.
"The effort was fine," Maddon said. "When you get a pitcher throwing that well, he makes you look kinda bad."'
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.