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 strike out 15 times in loss to Texas Rangers

B.J. Upton leaves five men on base and strikes out twice against right-hander Scott Feldman.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

B.J. Upton leaves five men on base and strikes out twice against right-hander Scott Feldman.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays had a chance Sunday to sweep Texas and pull even for second place in the wild-card race, but they whiffed.

And whiffed, and whiffed, and whiffed.

Fifteen strikeouts, their most this season in a regulation game, were a big part of the problem in the 4-0 loss, as they got only five hits and were shut out a home for the first time since April — 2008.

"Definitely disappointing," Carlos Peña said. "We really wanted to take this game and go for the sweep, but it didn't happen."

The loss left the Rays (67-56) two games behind the Rangers and three games behind the wild-card-leading Red Sox. The Rays headed to Toronto dressed in black for their latest themed trip (Johnny Cash/Ring of Fire), but there was no symbolic mourning of missed opportunity.

If anything, they took some solace in going 6-3 at home and holding ground against the teams they are chasing, if not the schedule, which shows 39 games left.

"If you think about two out of three in each series, before the homestand began you would say, 'Take it,' " manager Joe Maddon said. "When you get a chance to do better than that obviously at the end that presents a different tone to the entire situation. But at the end of the day you have to understand and realize it was actually an excellent homestand."

They were fortunate to do that well considering they got one hit — Peña's 10th-inning single Saturday — for the weekend in 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position (including 0-for-8 Sunday).

"That's unbelievable, isn't it?" Maddon said. "It also speaks to their pitching. Their pitching is really that good."

The Rangers have to show they can keep it up through the heat of September, but they were that good Sunday, as Scott Feldman got his 13th win with seven crisp innings, allowing just four singles and striking out a career-high 11.

Maddon twice referred to it as "the best pitched game against us all year," though Chicago's Mark Buehrle, who spun a perfect game July 23, might have a decent argument.

But the point was that Feldman was very good, and the Rays couldn't do much about it, as every starter but Gregg Zaun struck out at least once.

"He was really on," Peña said. "I was on second and I saw a pitch he threw to B.J. (Upton) and, wow! I thought to myself, 'That's unhittable.' "

David Price didn't do as well, but he didn't do badly. He allowed two runs when red-hot right-handed hitter Michael Young laced a ball between Peña and first base, and another when Ivan Rodriguez's smash to third took a funky bounce over Evan Longoria's head — "It hit something," he said — for a double.

The Rays sense the Rangers are legit foes, and head out for seven games in Toronto and Detroit aware of their shortcomings on the road but unsure how to change their luck, aside from changing their look.

"Hopefully the black hair is going to have something to do with that," said the recently dyed Maddon. "I'm really looking for all these different possible cures, so I went with the black hair. And if this actually does work, it's going to make it a lot easier in the future."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Tampa Bay Rays strike out 15 times in loss to Texas Rangers 08/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  2. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  3. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  4. Deception key to Nikita Kucherov's hot start

    Blogs

    Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.

    Nikita Kucherov is the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.
  5. Luke Witkowski living 'lifelong dream' with Red Wings

    Blogs

    Defenseman Luke Witkowski couldn't help but take a peek at the Lightning's morning skate Monday at the brand-new Little Caesar's Arena.

    Luke Witkowski (28) played his first 55 NHL games with the Lightning, until signing a two-year $1.5 million deal with Detroit in the summer.