Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Jays 7, Rays 3: ‘An awkward night’
Posted Apr 17, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Apr 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM
TORONTO The hot start has fizzled, and Rays continue to limp along on this long road trip.
Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre was their sixth in the first eight games of this 10-game trip.
Third baseman Evan Longoria set a career-high and tied a team record with three errors. Jeff Niemann gave up a couple of home runs. The offense managed eight hits against Ricky Romero, but couldn’t break through for a big inning.
“It was an awkward night,” manager Joe Maddon said. “A frustrating night.”
Here are some points of interest …
—The Rays ERA on this trip is 6.68. They have allowed 49 earned runs (52 overall) in 66 innings.
—Carlos Peña had a three-hit night, with two of those hits being bunt singles up the third base line against the shift.
He also singled over the shift. That came in the first inning when Peña drove the ball off the right field wall. But Peña was out at second on a strong throw by Jose Bautista. Peña wasn’t out trying to stretch a single into a double. Bautista turned that double into a single and an out.
Peña extended his hitting streak to six games. He has reached base in all 11 games and has hit safely in 10.
—Starter Jeff Niemann began the sixth inning but was pulled after walking Bautista, who led off. Niemann failed to complete six innings in each of his last four starts and five of his last six dating back to last season. He’s lost three of his last four decisions to the Jays.
—Matt Joyce has a five-game hitting streak. He had two hits off lefty Ricky Romero, including his second homer of the season. Joyce might have had a three-hit night had he not hit a laser in his first at-bat directly at first baseman Adam Lind.
—Lind continues to hit Niemann. He singled in his first at-bat and homered in his second. Lind is now 13-for-28 with three home runs against Niemann.
—Brett Lawrie’s eighth inning home run was the second allowed this season by Burke Badenhop. It was also the 19th run scored against the Rays in the eighth inning. The Rays have been outscored 19-0 in the eighth inning this season, with all 19 runs scored on this trip.
—Chris Gimenez doubled and had an RBI single in his first two at-bats. He has four hits in his two starts and now owns the only run driven in by a Rays catcher this season.
—Reid Brignac singled in a run for his first RBI of the season.