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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Pitching and D carrying Rays into oblivion
WHITE SOX 10, RAYS 8: Hideo Nomo and the pen put Tampa Bay in a hole an offensive outburst can't overcome.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published July 5, 2005
CHICAGO - Maybe Chris Singleton had the right idea.
The veteran outfielder decided Sunday he didn't want to play for the Devil Rays without additional compensation, and it's pretty safe to assume he enjoyed the Fourth of July more than his ex-teammates, who stumbled to a soggy 10-8 loss to the White Sox.
It was the Rays' sixth straight defeat, and the ninth in their past 10 games, and it was a rather ugly one.
The first pitch was delayed more than two hours because of the threat of heavy rains that never materialized, and when the game did start, Hideo Nomo quickly made the Rays wish it hadn't by allowing five runs in the first inning.
The Rays tried to make a game of it, cutting a 6-1 deficit to 6-5, then a 10-5 deficit to 10-8, but they made plenty of mistakes along the way.
"It's always a little something every night," manager Lou Piniella said. "It's always a little something that we have to talk about. It's a little bit of a 101 course."
Nomo gave up a grand slam to Jermaine Dye and a shot to No.9 hitter Juan Uribe. Rookie Chad Orvella hit his first batter to create a bases-loaded jam that resulted in four runs. A ground ball that could have been a double play instead bounced off Jorge Cantu's glove and became a two-run single. Joey Gathright was thrown out trying to stretch an eighth-inning leadoff double into a triple, just before Carl Crawford homered. The Rays walked seven total, the 13th time they handed out seven or more free passes and the 12th time they lost when doing so.
There were a few good things: The Rays snapped out of their offensive malaise with eight runs and 14 hits, Aubrey Huff hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs and Dewon Brazelton allowed only an infield single over three innings of relief, though he walked four.
Nomo, the veteran right-hander, labored through a brutal 44-pitch first inning. He allowed the first four hitters to reach then, after recording his first out on his 29th pitch, gave up a grand slam to Dye, the major-league-high sixth the Rays have allowed.
"It wasn't a good night for him," Piniella said.
Nomo has been the Rays' biggest winner this season with a 5-7 record, yet arguably their worst starter with a 6.80 ERA and a .296 opponent batting average.
He has been particularly bad away from the Trop, going 1-6 with a 9.60 ERA and a .345 opponent average, though he said the primary difference has been run support.
As for Monday?
"I don't think the (rain) delay was a big issue, but my pitches were high and to me that had a big effect," he said through an interpreter.
After Nick Green and Juan Uribe traded homers in the second, the Rays were down 6-1, and it seemed the only fireworks they would see were the ones planned for after the game.
But then something unexpected happened: The Rays came back.
Julio Lugo singled, Cantu doubled and Huff, slowly showing signs of heating up, blasted a three-run homer, his third during a seven-game hitting streak.
The Rays cut the gap to 6-5 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Green, Toby Hall and Gathright, but didn't get any more than the one run, and the Sox expanded their lead in the fifth.
Nomo put the first two on before leaving, then Orvella made it worse by hitting Aaron Rowand. Dye's bouncer went off Cantu's glove and into leftfield for a two-run single. Another walk, a sac fly (after a diving catch by Gathright) and a single by Scott Podsednik made it 10-5.
"The ball that bounced off Cantu's glove, if we make that play it's a double play and they have one run that inning," Piniella said. "If's a big word, isn't it?"