KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Rays couldn't do anything right Friday.
Didn't pitch well. Didn't hit much. Didn't catch the ball.
Didn't even play into the Internet and Twitter trade-rumor frenzy that B.J. Upton must have been dealt since he was pulled from the game in the eighth inning after word filtered out that prospect Desmond Jennings was scratched from the lineup at Triple-A Durham.
Jennings was called up, but with struggling shortstop Reid Brignac sent down. At least the Rays could explain that, as opposed to the poor effort in their 10-4 loss to a Royals team that had the worst record in the American League.
"It was horrible," manager Joe Maddon said. "We just played badly tonight. There's nothing that we did well. We had a chance to really blow that game open in the first inning, and we let it get away. And then we uncharacteristically did not play a good game on the field. … That was really not the Rays out there tonight. … We just did not play our typical game, way too many mistakes."
Returning to Kansas City for the first time since they celebrated their 2010 AL East championship with beer and champagne, the Rays instead played like they were hung over, dropping to 52-46, and now 8½ from the first-place Red Sox in the AL East and 6½ behind the wild-card-leading Yankees.
There was an unimpressive return from the disabled list by Wade Davis, who allowed 11 hits and six runs (five earned) in 51/3 innings. An unusually sloppy effort in the outfield, with Sam Fuld misplaying two balls and Upton and Matt Joyce colliding on another. Ineffective relief pitching. And another — save for back-to-back homers in the sixth — anemic night of offense, highlighted by a first-inning fizzle in which the first four Rays got on base and they got only one run.
"That is not how we should play," Maddon said. "Moving forward, that kind of game can't be part of us."
Friday's game was played in sweltering temperatures, 98 degrees at first pitch (7:10 local time) with a feels-like of 101. The Rays tried to deal with it giving the players electrolytes to drink and cutting batting practice short.
But sometimes it's not the heat, it's the humiliation.
Davis, in his first start since July 6 after a stint on the DL for a forearm strain, didn't fool anyone. He gave up doubles to three of the first four Royals, and three runs total in a 30-pitch first, and 11 hits overall, striking out only three, though not walking any.
Davis said he felt fine, but that was the only good thing.
"Absolutely I'm disappointed," he said. "I had good stuff, better stuff than what it showed. They capitalized on every mistake I threw up there. … I'm a little upset about it. It's a frustrating day in general."
Fuld had an eventful night overall, saying he had trouble with the glare and twilight. He also slid hard enough — "a normal slide," he said — into second to force shortstop Alcides Escobar to leave with a shin bruise, then paid for it when he was hit by a pitch the next inning.
Maddon insisted he was unaware his decision to get Upton off his feet caused a frenzy. But Upton, laughing about it later, admitted he was wondering as well.
"See you guys tomorrow, hopefully," Upton said on his way out.