More rain - another torrential downpour - would have been better. A stuck lock on the clubhouse door. A broken-down bus. Or one of those famous Boston traffic jams.
After waiting through Thursday's off day and Friday's postponement, and wading through the puddles from Saturday's all-day rains that caused a two-plus-hour delay, the Rays' return to the field was hardly worth it: a rain-delayed-again-then-shortened six-inning 9-1 loss that wasn't as close as the score indicated.
"No excuses,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "They had to do the same thing. It's just the way this thing works some times, and you have to abide by the rules and go play, and they beat us.''
The blowout extended the Rays' longest-in-two-years losing streak to nine and accelerated their official elimination from postseason contention and free-fall toward a losing record (they are 72-69), with the untoward proposition of two more games here today, starting at high noon.
The game was delayed 2:05 at the start, then 55 more minutes after played was stopped in the top of the sixth, and called off.
The circumstances threw rookie Wade Davis off his routine, and the Boston hitters knocked him out of the game in the third, as he didn't look much like he did in his dazzling debut against Detroit a week ago.
Davis set down the first three Sox, then walked two to start the second before rebounding impressively to strike out the side - mixing his fastball and sharp curve - but using 31 pitches.
That was all just a warmup for the third, however, as Davis allowed six hits, two walks and threw a wild pitch, leading to eight Boston runs.
"I thought he got off to a good start; I thought he was in for a good night, but it got away quickly," Maddon said. "He was very close to pitching relatively well, but against these guys you can't make those kind of mistakes.''
Most stunning was how quickly it happened. He allowed a leadoff single to No. 9 hitter Alex Gonzalez, got a flyout, then rat-tat-tat allowed four consecutive singles in a span of seven pitches.
That was enough for three runs, and a four-ball walk to Jason Bay that loaded the bases and a wild pitch led to another. After an intentional walk and a pop-up, he allowed the big blow, a three-run double by Gonzalez that ended his night.
"It should not have happened,'' Davis said. "I felt too good for that to happen. I think I beat myself. They got their hits, but I think I beat myself more than they did.''
The delay didn't affect the outcome, Davis said, but was a disruption: "I had to get ready, then not get ready, then get ready a couple times. But I still felt good when I was out there and didn't execute.''
Jacoby Ellsbury made it 8-0 with a single off Dale Thayer - the second time in a week the Rays allowed a season-high eight-run inning - then Ellsbury made it look worse by stealing second, padding his MLB-leading total to 61.
The Rays didn't swing the bat well either, but at least they got four hits, the first, a Dioner Navarro single in the third, ending a 10-inning no-hitter against them going back to Pat Burrell's single with one out in the first on Wednesday in New York.
The Rays got their run in the fifth - with the race on to make the game official before the rain got too heavy - on a Jason Bartlett single.
"A weird night,'' Davis said.
Marc Topkin can be reached at email@example.com.
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