Advertisement
  1. Rays

Tampa Bay Rays lose to New York Yankees 5-3

B.J. Upton gets turned around and lets Robinson Cano’s drive to center deflect off his glove for a double in the eighth.
Published Sep. 16, 2012

NEW YORK — Joe Maddon's plan for Saturday night was old-school Italian, the Rays manager heading over to Carmine's, the famous restaurant not far off Broadway that is one of his favorite New York stops.

But before he headed out of Yankee Stadium after the 5-3 loss, he had country music on his mind, suggesting that maybe a twangy ballad would be the best way to tell the all-too-familiar story of their latest disappointing defeat.

"Again, we've sang this song," Maddon said. "I'm sure we could make a nice country and western song out of this whole thing."

Such as?

"Between your dog and your pickup, we came up short again. We came up short agin."

Agin and agin and agin.

Whatever ground, momentum and emotional stability the Rays gained on Friday night they gave back on Saturday, James Shields putting them in an early hole by allowing back-to-back homers in the second and another run in the fifth, and the offense — cue the fiddles and banjos — unable to make it up. It was the 15th of their past 16 losses to come by one or two runs.

"We've got to be able to score some runs sometimes, too," Maddon said. "It's not always about our pitchers giving up a couple points."

They fell to 78-67 and back to four games behind the Yankees in the American League East race, though still three back of the Orioles for the second AL wild card, and lost another day off the calendar, with only 17 games left.

In Maddon's office and on one side of the clubhouse, patience was being preached.

"We've still got some time," Shields said.

But in another corner, not so much.

"We don't have a lot of time," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "I'm not going to say that anymore. We don't have a lot of time left. We continue to lose, we're going to find ourselves mathematically eliminated pretty quickly."

Shields felt he made a good 0-and-1 pitch to Granderson, who swatted it into the jet stream that blows out to right for a two-run homer, his 39th of the season.

Shields couldn't, and shouldn't, have felt as good about the 1-and-1 cutter to Nunez, the reserve infielder who hadn't homered in nearly a year, since a Sept. 21 game against Shields, against whom he is 7-for-16.

As if that weren't bad enough, the Yankees fourth run, on a two-out, fifth-inning Derek Jeter single after Shields thought he had him struck out, proved to be the difference.

The Rays, stymied again by Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova — "He likes our uniform, I know that" Maddon noted — got one back on Longoria's eighth homer since coming off the DL Aug. 7.

Then two more runs in the seventh, Maddon making it obvious he was trying to get on top against the more vulnerable middle of the New York bullpen.

The odd rally included four pinch-hitters and a pinch-runner, two pitching changes, a poorly timed (and even more poorly executed) bunt by Ben Francisco, and an actual big hit from Luke Scott, who singled in two — his first multi-RBI day since July 8.

But that was it, as they went quickly in the eighth, then had a slim chance in the ninth when Francisco singled with one out, but only as much of a chance as sending up Ryan Roberts, rookie Stephen Vogt (0-for-17 in his career) and Elliot Johnson against Yankees closer Rafael Soriano could give you. (Roberts flew out, Vogt walked, Johnson struck out.)

"Again, it's the offense," Longoria said. "We've asked a lot from the pitching staff the whole year, and I can't say it enough — we've got to get hits, we've got to produce runs and however we have to do it, we have to do it.

"The time is now."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What else went wrong in London, ranking the Rays, Lightning worries, Gators’ SEC title hopes.
  2. Yankees manager Aaron Boone talks about his plans for a bullpen day in Thursday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. KATHY WILLENS  |  AP
    The Rays Way could play a role in the ALCS.
  3. The Nationals' Victor Robles reacts as he crosses home after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a Game 3 rout of the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    Washington rolls to an 8-1 rout, is one game from World Series.
  4. The Rays posted this  message of appreciation on their Twitter account. RAYS BASEBALL  |  Twitter
    An ad in the Tampa Bay Times from the team and Twitter messages from players cap the season that included playoffs for the first time since 2013.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays leftfielder Tommy Pham (29) takes a moment in the dugout after the Rays' 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Contract terms for every player currently on Tampa Bay’s roster.
  6. The Yankees' Gleyber Torres hits a home run off Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke during the sixth inning in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. SUE OGROCKI  |  AP
    The 22-year-old homers and has five RBIs, the youngest AL player to drive in that many in a postseason game in major-league history.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (39), right, and shortstop Willy Adames (1) celebrate the Rays 10-3 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    Rays Tales: Underdogs really do almost “shock the world,” and Kevin Cash deserves serious American League manager of the year consideration.
  8. Nationals starter Anibal Sanchez pitches during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Cardinals on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    Starter Anibal Sanchez has a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings before giving up a clean single to center.
  9. Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud and starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow walk back to the dugout after the Astros score four runs in the first inning of Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Manager Kevin Cash says that wasn’t the main problem for the four-run first inning in Game 5 of the ALDS. It was the Astros’ hitters.
  10. The Tampa Bay Rays grounds crew works to remove the ALDS playoff logo along the first base line on the field at Tropicana Field on Friday. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    That’s what the team stresses as it faces an offseason with roster flexibility.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement