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

Rays ready to start another streak

TWINS 4, RAYS 2: Poor clutch play ends five-game run, but a possible series win motivates Tampa Bay.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 27, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - The rules of life require that all good things must come to an end. Now the Devil Rays have to make sure that the end of their five-game winning streak doesn't mean the end of their run of improved play.

The 4-2 loss to Minnesota Wednesday night was disappointing, especially because it was a loss they felt could have been prevented. But how the Rays come out and play in this afternoon's series finale, especially with the Yankees coming to town for the weekend, will determine how damaging it was.

"It's a big game. Tomorrow's a big game for us," Robert Fick said. "We've been playing pretty good; even the loss tonight was a tough one. Hopefully we come out and play hard and win the series. Anytime you win a series, it's something to build off of. It would be two in a row for us, and Lord knows we haven't done that."

The Rays didn't lose Wednesday so much because of what they did wrong but because of what they didn't do right.

The hitters didn't deliver in two key early situations: men on first and third with one out in the second when they were down 1-0, and a runner on third with no outs in the fourth after they took a 2-1 lead.

And starter Rob Bell didn't protect the lead once the Rays got it, walking the Nos. 9 and 1 hitters to start the fifth, then giving up a two-run double to Jacque Jones that put the Twins ahead to stay.

"Two things about that ballgame," manager Lou Piniella said. "We didn't get runners in from third base with less than two outs twice. And we take a lead and we walk the first two hitters in the fifth inning. That's the difference in the ballgame."

The Rays had been scoring runs consistently but couldn't do anything after red-hot Jose Cruz tripled in two in the fourth.

Heck, they couldn't even get the ball out of the infield in that inning: Julio Lugo, their top RBI man, grounded back to the mound; Robert Fick, who had his first two-hit game since April 23, fouled out to the catcher; and Toby Hall grounded to second.

"The fourth inning was big, stranding a runner at third base," Minnesota starter Seth Greisinger said. "It was really quiet, and all I could hear was (Terry) Mulholland warming up in the bullpen."

Piniella, who had the bullpen warming in the third inning, seemed more disturbed with Bell's performance.

"As soon as you take a lead, you have the ninth hitter coming up, make him hit the ball," Piniella said. "This is not the International League. I'm serious when I say that. You give up walks up here and they score. They score in the minors, but they score here more prevalent."

Bell knew he messed up.

"It's stupid. It's fundamental. And it's wrong," he said. "I understand that. It's not a game you can play and not expect to make mistakes. But those are mistakes that are easily avoidable."

The winning streak wasn't the only thing that ended. When Cristian Guzman singled in Justin Morneau against Danys Baez in the ninth, it was the first run allowed by Rays relievers in 272/3 innings, a streak that lasted more than a week, dating to May 18.

Before the five-game streak, the longest since a team record-tying six in September 2000, the Rays had lost 12 of 13 and 19 of 22.

"Let's start another streak tomorrow, that's all," Piniella said. "I'm pleased with five in a row; I think everybody should be since we're a little banged up. Let's go out there and play a good game tomorrow and go from there."

[Last modified May 27, 2004, 01:00:38]

Today's lineup
Rays>
Rays ready to start another streak
Standridge learns value of clear head

Bucs
Team takes introductory course

Lightning>
A new perspective
Fire severely damages defenseman's home
St. Louis says goals will come
Goalie keeps Flames happy
Got a minute? Pavel Kubina
Taylor blasts officiating

Other sports

Baseball
  • AL: Yanks seesaw to wild win
  • Marlins' new starter stifles Reds
  • NL: Astros rout Maddux but lose Pettitte
  • Virginia group starts stadium ticket drive

  • Colleges
  • 'Poker Face' a winner for Seminoles
  • FSU star is voted U.S. best in softball
  • Speed made Princeton grad America's best

  • Golf
  • Annika's back; all are happy
  • Haas to act his age

  • In brief
  • Smarty Jones' jockey handed a second fine

  • Motorsports
  • Gibbs Racing happy at Lowe's

  • NBA
  • Lottery win nets Magic No. 1 pick
  • Pistons hold on for series lead

  • NFL
  • Marion charged with theft and fraud

  • NHL
  • Panthers reunite Keenan, Martin

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Preps
  • Branham's character survives a nightmare
  • Gulliver Prep comes out swinging
  • It all goes wrong for Jesuit
  • Patriots' Mauger returns to the mats
  • Veteran heads up Dunedin squad

  • Tennis
  • Roddick completes early exit of U.S. men
  • Raymond can't come back again
  • 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