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Rays are at their most embarrassing

Atrocious defense helps keep Tanyon Sturtze winless in what Hal McRae calls team's worst game, a 10-2 loss to the Giants.

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 21, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Hal McRae said Thursday's 10-2 loss to the Giants "was maybe the worst game we played all year."

And given how the Rays have played in losing 46 of their first 70 games, that's really saying something.

By the end of the long afternoon, the Rays had made three errors and misplayed several other balls. They allowed three home runs and 16 hits. They managed six hits and got one runner past second base after the first inning.

"We played like we had been at sea for six months," McRae said.

Tanyon Sturtze, who has gone 15 starts without a victory, was certainly part of the problem, failing to take advantage of a 2-0 lead and giving up a team record-tying 13 hits and seven runs (six earned) in 51/3 innings.

But Sturtze (0-8) wasn't willing to take all the blame, pointing out that his teammates failed to make several plays behind him that could have shortened or ended innings and suggesting that the official scorer should have awarded more errors.

"You give big-league teams extra outs and they make you pay," Sturtze said. "It's a shame everyone's going to read the paper and they'll see 13 hits and seven runs. I don't feel like I pitched that bad today. I thought I did a pretty good job today in getting ground balls and getting outs. We just didn't make the plays. But I'm the one who has to wear it."

Having been shut out for 14 innings, the Rays struck in the first on a two-run home run by Ben Grieve, his first since May30, a span of 73 at-bats.

But the Giants got one back in the first when third baseman Aubrey Huff couldn't make a play on a Reggie Sanders grounder. Then they broke the game open with four runs in the second helped by a costly Rays miscue.

After Tsuyoshi Shinjo's one-out homer tied the score and catcher Yorvit Torrealba singled, the Rays had a chance for an inning-ending double play, but shortstop Chris Gomez dropped Steve Cox's throw. Instead of two outs the Rays got none, and hits by Marvin Benard and Rich Aurilia made it 5-2.

"It was kind of ugly out there," Grieve said.

As painful as it was to watch his team lose a second straight after winning three of four, McRae said he wasn't upset.

Not yet, anyway.

"My focus is on playing a good game (tonight) and not putting back-to-back bad games together because today was horrendous," he said. "My concern is (tonight). If we play bad (tonight), then I'm very concerned. Today was just a bad game. If we play bad (tonight), then possibly I need to say something.

"Everybody knows we stunk, and they stunk and we didn't play well and we didn't make pitches and we didn't make plays. That's fairly obvious."

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