JUGGLING: Second baseman Brent Abernathy was dropped to eighth in the lineup, McRae said, "to try and break up the inconsistency" the Rays have had driving in runs from the bottom of the order. "If he does well, he'll stay. Abbie handles the bat well; he's gotten some big hits. He's the best RBI man among batters at the bottom of the lineup."
Not this time. Abernathy singled with two outs and Randy Winn on first in the second inning. But he struck out with one out runners on second and third in the fourth, flied out with one out and runners on first and second in the sixth and lined out with one out and Winn on first in the eighth.
WINN-ING NUMBERS: Winn had three hits in a game for the fifth time this year. He is batting .389 (28-for-72) with hits in 17 of the past 19 games and batting .412 (21-for-51) in July.
ROGERS UNDER THE KNIFE: Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers will miss the rest of the season after surgery next week to clear a circulatory problem in an artery. The condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by a rib pinching a muscle in the shoulder and blocking the artery. It will be Rogers' first time on the DL in his 14-year career.
FOX TRACKS: Joe Magrane was absent from the Rays TV broadcast booth and will be today as well. He will be in the FOX network booth today, teaming with Josh Lewin at the Mariners-Twins game at the Metrodome.
REACHING OUT: Infielder Russ Johnson, broadcaster DeWayne Staats and mascot Raymond will visit the North Pinellas YMCA at 9 a.m. today to sign autographs and talk to fans as part of the team's Outreach program. The event is free.
FINALLY: Bobby Seay, out most of the season with a sprained finger, won his first game since Aug. 30, giving up seven hits and four runs in seven innings of the Double-A Orlando Rays' 7-5 victory at Chattanooga. Seay is 1-5 with a 6.35 ERA this season and 16-31 in his five-year pro career.
_ BRUCE LOWITT
YOU DON'T SAY
Manager Hal McRae was asked, in view of the Rays' inability to drive home runners in scoring position, what he would pay for a base hit in such situations. "A premium," he said. "And I'd pay big for contact."
FRIDAY'S CROWD: 13,611
TROPICANA FIELD CAPACITY: 44,445
SEASON TOTAL: 749,941
PER-GAME AVERAGE: 15,305
2001 LARGEST CROWD: 41,546
2001 SMALLEST CROWD: 10,539
2000 PER-GAME AVERAGE: 19,368
1999 PER-GAME AVERAGE: 19,296
1998 PER-GAME AVERAGE: 30,939
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, honoring the memory of Tampa police officer Lois Marrero, killed in the line of duty July 6. Also, Autograph Day: four players or coaches available at 2:55 p.m. for a 30-minute session.
Rupe (4-8, 7.12) makes his 16th start of the season and 10th since being recalled Memorial Day from Triple-A Durham. The start is the 57th of his career, which will move him past ex-Ray Rolando Arrojo into second place in team history (Bryan Rekar, 74).
Oliver (7-5, 6.48) makes his first start of the season against Tampa Bay; he is 6-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rays. His last start was a 7-6 loss to Giants (5 innings, 8 hits, 7 runs, 6 earned) and he is 0-3 with a 9.56 ERA in his past three starts.