Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays lose 2-0 to Atlanta Braves

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have lit a holistic candle, said their prayers, and jokingly referred to curses and demons when it comes to their recent stretch of weird injuries and occurrences.

But after the frustratingly maddening way Tampa Bay's final rally ended in its 2-0 loss to the Braves on Sunday, getting shut out for the first time this year, designated hitter Luke Scott had another suggestion.

"Let's find the witch doctor and behead him and throw his body into the bay," Scott quipped.

Scott thought he was going to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth, when the Rays (25-17) had the bases loaded with two outs. But Scott's hard-hit grounder, which appeared headed to rightfield, struck Carlos Peña's right ankle as he was racing toward second base, resulting in interference and the final out. Braves second baseman Dan Uggla didn't know if he would have gotten to the ball.

"I got lucky," Braves reliever Jonny Venters said.

Scott, who was credited with a single, never made it to first base, looking to the sky before tossing his bat in the air.

"If I didn't have that much pine tar on my bat, I probably would have hit the top of the roof," Scott said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Neither could Peña, who broke for second on Scott's two-strike swing and had no time to react as the ball hit him in stride.

"It's just a helpless feeling because I couldn't go anywhere; I was in the air when the ball hit me," Peña said. "It was a rocket. It's just bad luck."

The Rays have had their share, with nine players currently on the disabled list, infielder Jeff Keppinger arriving Sunday morning in a walking boot due to a right foot injury, and Jose Molina leaving in the seventh after taking a foul tip off his catcher's mask. Peña said his ankle was "throbbing" for a minute after getting hit, though he said he was fine later.

Tampa Bay, buoyed by an impressive start by left-hander David Price, was still in the game. Price mixed his pitches well, allowing just two runs in seven innings, keeping the Rays in it as Braves veteran righty Tim Hudson threw a gem, 7? scoreless. Third baseman Sean Rodriguez helped Price with a spectacular defensive play in the fifth, making a diving stab down the line and one-hop throw to Peña to retire David Ross.

"Sean has made some unreal plays," Peña said. "And (Sunday) was no exception."

The Rays had their best chance to crack Hudson in the sixth, thanks to a two-out rally that loaded the bases for Peña. Peña then thought he had a grand slam, but his long drive to center was caught on the warning track due to backspin.

"I crushed it," Peña said. "It just had the spin where it came right down to him. But I knew as soon as I made contact, it had a shot to first be out of the park, or least over his head. So I was very disappointed."

The Rays have lost three of their past four, remaining two games behind first-place Baltimore in the American League East. Peña said the team will be better when it overcomes its recent adversity, no matter what challenges or injuries come next.

Joked Scott: "I may have to play a little middle infield pretty soon."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 8 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Published: 04/21/18