St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Parking
Interactive
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Links
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum



Print storySubscribe to the Times

Loss has Rays at loss for words

A'S 4, RAYS 2: Tight game turns on iffy call that snuffs a rally, leaving club mostly silent.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published August 31, 2003

OAKLAND, Calif. - There wasn't much to say, or at least not much good to say, after the Devil Rays lost 4-2 to the A's Saturday night.

Manager Lou Piniella imposed his fourth Lou-out of the season, declining to talk to the media. The players didn't have much to offer, frustrated by another close loss that turned on another close call that went against them.

Down 2-0 against a surprisingly masterful Ted Lilly, the Rays closed to 2-1 in the seventh. When the A's made it 3-1, the Rays rallied again in the eighth.

Marlon Anderson hit a leadoff pinch-hit home run off reliever Chad Bradford to make it 3-2, and they looked like they would get more until Damian Rolls was caught stealing at second on a close play Piniella protested. He walked slowly off the field in disgust after getting nowhere with umpire Joe Brinkman.

"Maybe he couldn't see, but I was tagged on the (butt) and my left foot was on the bag," Rolls said. "It's a big momentum shift, a huge momentum shift. That right there can make or break a ballgame."

For the Rays, it broke it. And when Lance Carter gave up a home run to Scott Hatteberg to start the Oakland eighth, a prelude to the postgame fireworks show that attracted 45,150 to Network Associates Coliseum, it was irreparable.

For their efforts, the all the Rays got was an "x."

That's the letter that appears next to a team's name in the standings when it is officially eliminated from the division race, the universal symbol for goodbye. And by the end of the night, not that it wasn't inevitable, they were gone, 29 games out of first with 28 to play.

"I didn't know there was still time," Al Martin said. "Are you sure we can't get into a one-game playoff or anything? I don't think anyone was holding their breath, but now that it's final we'd better focus on 70 wins and not losing 100 games. Real goals."

With how they've played lately, losing eight of 10, and whom they still have to play, 21 of their remaining 28 against the A's, Mariners, Yankees and Red Sox, those aren't going to be easy. The Rays have to finish 17-11 to win a franchise-record 70 and 10-18 to avoid a third straight 100-loss season.

Lilly had been the fourth man on the A's starting staff behind the big three of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and now-injured Mark Mulder, but the Rays treated him like an ace.

Three up and three down they went, managing two baserunners through the first six innings and one clean hit, Travis Lee's run-scoring single, in his 62/3 innings.

The A's hit the ball hard from the beginning off Rays starter Rob Bell, line drives sizzling through the air, fly balls carrying to the walls, but managed three runs in his 62/3 innings.

Bell, signed in spring training after being released by the Rangers, ended up with another decent outing, his fifth straight quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer runs). Saturday's loss was his first since June 25, and he is 3-1 with seven no-decisions and a 4.60 ERA in his past 11 games (10 starts).

"I feel like I've turned a big corner," Bell said. "I was just trying to repeat what I've done in my recent starts."

The loss extended the first-place A's winning streak to a season-high eight games and continued the Rays misery in Oakland; they have lost 12 of their past 13 here and 23 of 29 overall.

[Last modified August 31, 2003, 01:47:13]

Today's lineup
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Other sports

Baseball
  • Agents: Ease up on Willis
  • AL: Tigers join Mets in infamy
  • Marlins lose All-Star Lowell for season
  • NL: Bonds homers in teary return
  • Yanks bats prevent a collapse

  • College football
  • A new start for Berlin
  • Composed Rix, Seminoles start season on high note
  • Fit to be Tide
  • Nation: Virginia QB Schaub injures shoulder
  • Big East: Badgers' Sorgi wins start at last
  • SEC: Ole Miss escapes with win at Vandy
  • State: Rattlers stumble in Detroit Classic
  • USC gives up little in shutout of Auburn
  • Gators find few answers
  • Lineup includes half-dozen new starters
  • UF by the numbers
  • UF game balls
  • UF has safety in numbers with Scott
  • Elbow sidelines talented tailback
  • FSU by the numbers
  • FSU game balls
  • Running back makes impact
  • ACC: UGA shakes early worries, Clemson
  • Big 12: Cornhuskers return to old ways
  • Pac-10: California turns big plays into a win
  • Big Ten: Krenzel stars in Clarett's absence
  • C-USA: Houston pounds crosstown rival
  • Nation: Air Force gives coach win against alma mater
  • Banks looks sharp in defeat
  • Bulls junior shows off his versatility
  • USF by the numbers
  • USF game balls

  • Fantasy
  • Injured but irresistible: Vick the big mystery

  • Golf
  • Ahern capitalizes as Watson laments

  • Gotta minute?
  • Mark Malaska

  • In brief
  • Positive test could force sprinter White to forfeit medals

  • Motorsports
  • NASCAR's future lacks strong Southern accent
  • Teenager takes Busch win
  • Yarborough won't give Gordon his due

  • NBA
  • U.S. team earns spot in Athens

  • NFL
  • Injuries expose preseason waste
  • USF's Blackwell among 10 cut by Jets

  • NHL
  • Surgery threatens to end Bure's career

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Tarpon tumult keeps building

  • Preps
  • IRC cruises past All Saints'

  • Running
  • Red Mule win a feat on road to U.S. trials

  • Tennis
  • Nerves starting to fray at U.S. Open
  • Letters: Your Turn
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     


     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week