Make us your home page

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 lose for fifth time in six games, 2-0 to Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO — The Rays didn't do much wrong Thursday.

They just didn't do much.

A couple of two-out mistakes in the first by starter Matt Moore led to the only runs in the 2-0 loss to Toronto. And a debatable decision by Jeff Keppinger to bunt with two on and none out in the second turned out to backfire.

But otherwise, the issue, once again, was that they put nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard.

For third time in their past nine games, for the sixth time in their past 25, for the ninth time in 90 games, the Rays were shut out. Blanked. Goose-egged.

"We've played that story way too often," manager Joe Maddon said. "And we've got to get by it somehow."

Even with another new look to the lineup, with Luke Scott at first base and Carlos Peña on the bench, the results weren't any better. It was the major-league most 10th time they lost when allowing two or fewer runs.

The Rays (71-60) have lost five of six, dropping 4½ games behind the idle Yankees in the American League East, 2½ behind the A's and 1½ behind the Orioles in the wild-card race.

Getting in after 4 a.m. from Texas didn't help, but Maddon said he couldn't have foreseen another blanking coming.

But in six innings against Carlos Villanueva and three vs. relievers Darren Oliver, Brad Lincoln and Casey Janssen, the Rays had only one legit chance.

After Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce rapped back-to-back singles, Keppinger, one of the Rays' most productive hitters, decided to bunt on the first pitch, moving the runners up. But the next two Rays couldn't even put a fair ball into play. Scott popped out to the catcher, and Jose Lobaton took a third strike — the first of a team record-tying six consecutive strikeouts by the Rays.

Keppinger felt strongly it was the right play. Maddon did not.

"If I had to do it all over, I'd do it again," Keppinger said. "The guy hitting behind me (Scott) is leading our team in RBIs, ain't he? He drives in runs. We're down by two runs, putting him up there with men in scoring position seems like a good idea. I'm a contact hitter. I hit a lot of ground balls. Stay out of the double play, move the runners over, put them in scoring position, take a shot with our donkey. It didn't work out."

Maddon, who doesn't like the bunt much anyway, said he appreciated the team-first thinking, but not then: "In a moment like that with Kepp hitting, I would prefer that he swing."

Moore had to bear some blame, one strike away from a 1-2-3 first and instead allowing four straight Jays to reach, with a two-out walk, a single by lefty Adam Lind, a four-pitch walk to load the bases then a double by another lefty, Kelly Johnson.

"I felt like I was getting a little giddy, kind of jumping at the glove a little bit," Moore said. "Even with the bases loaded, we've got a lefty up to bat, that's favorable in our case, if you have to look at it like that, but I've got to be better than that to him. And not even get in that situation in the first place."

But, realistically, Maddon said, it wasn't his fault. "I can't really get on the young pitcher that gives up two runs in six innings," he said. "When you don't score any runs and you can't cover any mistakes then it becomes a little more glaring."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Blue Jays 2

Rays 0

Tampa Bay Rays lose for fifth time in six games, 2-0 to Toronto Blue Jays 08/31/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 31, 2012 10:56am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays series preview: Who are the Rangers?


    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.
  2. Checklist to help Bucs swagger into the postseason


    To boost their playoff prospects, the Bucs need to beat Atlanta at least once, as they did last year. Twice would be even nicer. (Loren Elliott, Times)
  3. Baddest of them all? Steelers LB James Harrison, hands down


    "No badass list is complete - or should begin anywhere else other than with - James Harrison," says Eric Edholm, an NFL writer who has worked at Yahoo Sports. (Associated Press)
  4. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  5. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.