DETROIT — Sam Fuld could only stand at his locker and shake his head after Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Tigers.
What started out looking like a good night for the Rays, as they knocked around and then out Detroit ace Justin Verlander after six innings, turned out to be a bad one, and no one felt it more than the Rays slumping leftfielder.
Twice he came up in key RBI situations. Twice he hit the ball hard. And twice it caromed off the glove of one Tiger and to another for an inning-ending out.
"Not one of my better nights," Fuld said. "You definitely don't see that very often."
The Rays (26-23) seemed a bit staggered by the way the game turned, as they lost for the eighth time in their past 11 games and dropped from first place to third in the AL East.
They rallied for three runs to take a 6-5 lead in the sixth then lost it in the eighth when Cesar Ramos allowed a two-run homer to No. 8 hitter Alex Avila, his second of the night.
"Just a tough loss," said outfielder Matt Joyce. "And I don't think anyone on this team would have seen it going that way."
The night seemed promising as they knocked around and knocked out Verlander after six innings on their way to their first game of double-digit hits in nearly two weeks.
But there were ominous signs that proved to be the more accurate indicators of how their night would end.
A too-cool play by B.J. Upton on a somewhat routine line drive that led to the first Tigers run.
A very good 1-and-2 pitch by Wade Davis missed by home plate umpire Gerry Davis that would have struck out Miguel Cabrera three pitches before he hit a three-run homer in the sixth.
And the two balls hit by Fuld, who, after being dropped to the No. 9 spot, finished with a tough 0-for-4 that continued the shrinking of his average from .350 to .224.
In the sixth, after the Rays scored three runs on a combination of three hits, two Tigers throwing errors on the same play and a sac fly, Fuld came up with a man on second. He smashed a ball off first baseman Cabrera's glove that bounced right to second baseman Scott Sizemore, who threw to first where Verlander made a backhand grab.
And if that weren't bad enough, consider the eighth, when the Rays had the bases loaded and one out. Sean Rodriguez (who pretty much had to hit since the Rays had no other shortstops available) went down swinging on three pitches by righty reliever Al Alburquerque. Then Fuld drilled a ball up the middle that bounced up and off Alburquerque's glove and right to shortstop Jhonny Peralta as he crossed second base, making it four straight times the Rays have left the bases loaded.
"I'd never seen that play before," Fuld said. "I guess when you're cold, you're cold."
"We had several of those moments tonight," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just one of those things that happens in this game, and you've got to continue to fight through it."
They did get a solid six-inning start from Davis, though Davis said it was much more of "a battle" than Maddon, who deemed it "possibly the best Davis has thrown all year."
The 12 hits were their most since May 12, with 11 games of fewer than 10 in between. And they did set a major-league record by playing their 49th game of the season without making more than one error.
"We did some things really well," Maddon said. "We did not catch many breaks. That's just how the game works sometimes."
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]