The Devil Rays didn't want to make the one-day trip to New York for Thursday's makeup game, and they played like it.
Physical errors, mental mistakes, poor execution and wasted opportunities contributed heavily to a 7-3 loss to the Yankees and capped their season's efforts at Yankee Stadium with a perfect 10 _ 10 losses in 10 games.
"I don't even know what to say about it," leftfielder Carl Crawford said. "It's our last game here _ just try to fix it up for next year."
It's not easy to go winless in 10 games in an opponent's park in one season _ no big-league team had since the 1961 Cubs did so at St. Louis' Sportsman's Park _ but there seems no depth the Rays can't reach right now.
They're 24-49 since peaking at two games over .500 July 3 and 10-29 since beating Curt Schilling Aug. 9 in Boston, and can't seem to do anything about it.
With the win, the veteran-laden Yankees nonchalantly clinched a postseason berth as they head to Boston for a three-game series in which they could just about secure a seventh consecutive AL East championship.
With the loss, the youth-laced Rays nonchalantly slipped closer to a seventh straight last-place finish as their lead over Toronto, which enjoyed a leisurely day off in the Tampa Bay area, dwindled to one-half game heading into their own weekend showdown.
"It's been difficult, it really has," Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "What are you going to do? It goes to show you how far we have to go as an organization. It's nice to bring up a lot of young kids and watching them play and watching them pitch, but it necessarily doesn't translate into too many wins either."
The Rays were hoping Thursday's game _ postponed twice by rain in New York and once by a hurricane in Florida _ would be made up only if necessary at the end of the season. But MLB officials wanted it played, so the Rays, having arrived home late Sunday from a two-week road trip, had to leave after Wednesday's game for what amounted to a day trip _ albeit a long day.
"I don't think anyone was looking forward to this trip," Crawford said. "But it was something we had to do, so we had to do it."
The Rays got to their Times Square hotel around 9:30 p.m., a few grabbed dinner, and by mid morning they were checking out and heading to the stadium.
Was there even time to unpack?
"I didn't even bring a suitcase," infielder Geoff Blum said. "I told everybody I was going to wear the same suit up and back, and I'm a man of my word."
Except for Aubrey Huff's four hits and rookie John Webb's four shutout innings, they mostly played like they wanted to be somewhere else.
"You can make a bunch of excuses, but when it comes down to everything, we just played a bad game," Crawford said.
Todd Ritchie _ in what he called "an embarrassing performance" _ gave up a leadoff home run to Derek Jeter. Shortstop B.J. Upton didn't cover second on what could have been a first-inning double play. Rocco Baldelli missed on a diving catch that turned into a Gary Sheffield triple. Crawford got doubled off first. Upton threw a ball away on another potential double play. Huff got thrown out trying to score on a fly out.
"We haven't been playing well lately when we've been home, away, one-day road trips, I don't think it really matters at this point," Baldelli said. "We just have to pull it together no matter where we play."
The Rays logged another rare feat, finishing the season 0-10 at Yankee Stadium. That makes them the first team to go winless in 10 or more games:
+ At a road park since the 1961 Cubs were 0-11 at St. Louis' Sportsman's Park.
+ At an AL road park since the 1960 Red Sox were 0-11 at Chicago's Comiskey Park.
+ At Yankee Stadium since the 1957 Kansas City A's.