Bryan Rekar pitches well but the Rays continue to flail away, falling 3-1 to the O's.
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 2, 2001
BALTIMORE -- As well as Bryan Rekar pitched Tuesday night, all he needed was a little help from his friends. But as poorly as the Rays are going, even that proved too much to ask.
The result was another numbing defeat, 3-1 to Baltimore, giving the Rays five losses in six games and dropping their major-league worst record to 8-19.
"It's past that," Russ Johnson said. "It's the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen. It's something we've got to battle through. It ain't going to change itself, that's for sure. I don't know what to say."
Rekar pitched into the seventh, allowing three runs on four hits, but the Rays were tamed by former teammate Jason Johnson and two relievers. It was the 13th time in 27 games the Rays scored two or fewer runs.
"When things are not going well players have a tendency to press," manager Hal McRae said. "They try to do too much and they don't play within themselves and the results are usually bad. I think we are pressing some, but somehow we have to regroup and come out and swing the bats better."
The Orioles' Jerry Hairston, right, jogs across home after driving in Melvin Mora with a homer in the fifth.
Having already tinkered with the lineup, McRae next will try remedial work, with extra batting practice planned for this afternoon, hoping something will get the Rays' top hitters going.
As it is, Ben Grieve is hitting .184, Vinny Castilla .195, John Flaherty .214, Greg Vaughn .216, Gerald Williams .232 and Fred McGriff .255. "We're not hoping they can hit. These guys have proven they can hit, and their numbers are fairly predictable," McRae said. "They've swung the bat well over the years, and we're betting they can swing the bat well. We're staking our hopes on them swinging the bat well."
The run the Rays did get Tuesday came gift-wrapped. Rookie Damian Rolls reached to open the fifth when Cal Ripken booted a routine grounder, then stole second and went to third on Williams' flyout.
Leftfielder Delino DeShields mistimed his jump at the wall on Johnson's drive, giving the Rays a run and Johnson his first career triple.
But the Rays stranded him at third. Jason Johnson struck out Grieve on a weak check swing, and Trombley walked Vaughn and got McGriff to ground into a forceout.
The Rays, hitting .217 with runners in scoring position, failed to execute again in the sixth. Castilla led off with a double, but Jose Guillen flied to center and Mike DiFelice and Rolls went down swinging.
"Out situational hitting wasn't very good," McRae said.
About the only good thing, aside from the Rays not adding to their major-league leading total of 32 errors, was Rekar's strong performance.
"Probably his finest outing of the season," McRae said. "He gave us exactly what we wanted."
The only problem came in the fifth, when Rekar walked leadoff man Melvin Mora, then with one out fell behind No. 9 hitter Jerry Hairston 2-and-0 and gave up a two-run homer. The Orioles tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, and the lead apparently was insurmountable.
Rekar (0-4) at least is used to the treatment, having received the lowest run support of any American League pitcher. "You just don't think about it," Rekar said. "My job is to get three outs every inning and do what I can to keep it close."
Said McRae: "The pitching seems like it's improved. Now we have to get the offense involved."
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