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Rays go down quickly, quietly

Greg Vaughn blasts teammates after lackluster 10-0 loss to A's.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 10, 2000


OAKLAND, Calif. -- There wasn't much to Saturday's game for the Devil Rays. They managed just two singles against Oakland's Tim Hudson. They gave up a team-record-tying six home runs, five by Albie Lopez. They lost 10-0, and they went down meekly in doing so, the 2-hour, 5-minute game being their shortest of the year.

But while most of the players were hurrying back for a night out in San Francisco, Greg Vaughn lashed out. He claimed his teammates were doing too much complaining and not enough performing, and suggested that some had obviously already given up on the season.

"I'm tired of all the excuses," Vaughn said. "I'm tired of the pouting. This ain't day care. Nobody in here is a baby sitter. Let's go. Nine innings. Every day. .

"Everyone in here is a grown man. Start acting like grown men and let's go. We've got three weeks left. If you're tired or if you want to quit, go tell somebody. If you're "getting screwed,' I'm sure they can work it out so you can get a different job."

Vaughn wasn't specific in his criticism, but it's clear the Rays' effort -- or lack thereof -- Saturday troubled him.

They were down 3-0 after four batters, 5-0 after two innings, and 10-0 by the fifth.

"Right now I'm frustrated," Vaughn said. "You've got to expect to win. You've got to expect to come back. You've got to keep pushing, keep grinding. You've got to get rid of the excuses and quit feeling sorry for yourself and carry on. .

"You come through the door, be ready to play. You're down, you're losing 2-0, you still pull for one another and play hard. You're winning, you play hard, so don't give me two different attitudes. You're getting your hits or you're making your pitches, everything's fine. Be the same every time. Let's go."

Lopez came into the game looking to tie Rolando Arrojo's team record of 21 career victories. Instead he matched another Arrojo mark -- most home runs given up in a game.

"Everything that had been on for him was off for him today," manager Larry Rothschild said. "It would look like he was getting it and then, boom, there'd be a home run. I tried to let him settle in and find it, and a couple of times it looked like he'd get it going, but as soon as it looked like he was, he wasn't."

In 32/3 innings, Lopez faced 19 batters -- five hit home runs, three others got hits and two bunted.

Lopez, who'd rolled off a 9-6 record and 3.20 ERA in 19 starts, said he had no trouble with the sore left calf that forced him from his last start or any other physical problems.

Basically, he just didn't have much of anything working.

"Nothing," Lopez said. "I didn't have a cutter, I didn't have a fastball, I didn't have location."

The powerful A's feasted on his mistakes. Jason Giambi hit two home runs, both majestic shots that soared over the 400-foot centerfield fence and struck high on a stadium wall.

But Ben Grieve delivered the most amazing blast, a shot estimated at 450 feet that landed in the football bleacher seats well above and beyond the right-centerfield fence. It was only the third ball to reach that level since Network Associates Coliseum was renovated in 1996 -- Larry Walker and Jose Canseco had the others.

"That's a bomb," Giambi said. "Someone needs to get Bennie to pee in a cup."

Hudson was equally impressive on the mound. The 25-year-old right-hander improved his record to 16-4, allowing the two hits and no walks while striking out four. The Rays went three up and three down in seven of the nine innings.

"He just wasn't giving you anything good to hit," Steve Cox said. "I saw one good pitch to hit pretty much all day, and I took it. He keeps you off-balance, and his ball had a different kind of action."

For a Rays team that is batting .203 in nine September games, that wasn't a good sign.

"He got a lot of quick outs," Rothschild said. "And he knew what to do with the lead. There were a lot of weak ground ball outs, and anything we hit hard was at people. That made it a quick day for him."

Having lost seven of their past nine, the Rays have 20 games to play. With nine wins, they'll surpass their victory total from last season. With one more loss and a Yankees win, they'll officially be eliminated from the American League East race.

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