Angry Rays drop 3-2 setback to Jays

The Rays skipper was tossed at the end of the bottom of the seventh. Sam Fuld was originally called safe at first by umpire Joe West but the call was reversed by the second base official, Angel Hernandez, who contended that Lind put a tag on Fuld. Hernandez made the call from quite a distance, sparking Maddon’s ire.

“That’s the second time that call has happened to us this year and I really have a hard time with that call being changed from that distance. If there’s any particular play that screams for instant replay it’s that one,” Maddon said. “I just don’t understand how you can make that call from that distance.”

Upton joined the parade of the ejected—Jays manager John Farrell was tossed earlier for the first time in his career—after he was rung up by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild on a dubiousridiculous called third strike. Upton had quite a bit to say to Fairchild and base coach Tom Foley and bench coach Dave Martinez had their work cut out for them trying to restrain the fired-up center fielder.

“I just kind of lost it a little bit,” Upton said after the game. “I guess you could say…I just didn’t feel like that pitch in that particular moment was a strike.”

He had his manager to back him up—from the clubhouse, of course.

“I actually had the privilege of watching that on television at that point and those are pretty egregious calls, so I can understand why he was so upset,” Maddon said. “I really believe that that particular at-bat should be reviewed by the umpiring higher-ups as opposed to being all over B.J. Upton right now.”

While they put in a valiant effort in the ninth, the Rays didn’t have any of that magic walk-off juice left in the tank for this one. With one out, Casey Kotchman walked, as did John Jaso with two gone. Kotchman scored on a base hit by Fuld but Zobrist’s easy grounder to first was an easy play for Lind to make unassisted.

This was another close game that could have gone either way, exactly the type of game of which the Rays have to start coming out on the winning side. As overstated as the sentiments may be, too many blown opportunities like Wednesday night’s game and this team won’t be going anywhere in October except on vacation.

click to enlarge Angry Rays drop 3-2 setback to Jays - Mathias Jones
Mathias Jones
Angry Rays drop 3-2 setback to Jays

It was abundantly clear early on: this game was going to be nothing like the one last night.

The Toronto Bule Jays came out storming in the top of the first inning. With two outs and Rajai Davis aboard after a leadoff single, Adam Lind took one deep into the seats in right field for the early lead, message sent.

The question was: how would the Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher Jeff Niemann respond?

Niemann responded by giving up a double to Juan Rivera in the next at-bat. He then hit Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch to set the tone for what looked like a rough outing.

Rays manager Joe Maddon let his actions speak for him; he pulled the towering Texan after allowing three runs on six hits through the first four innings. Andy Sonnanstine took the hill for Tampa Bay in the top of the fifth.

Niemann, it was later revealed, was pulled as a precautionary measure due to back stiffness. He will be further evaluated.

Had the game been a debate, Toronto would have led with a loud, brash emotive rant whereas the Rays’ rebuttal was meekly unintelligible.

One-two-three they fell in the first. Sam Fuld grounded to Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow. Ben Zobrist walked but was out on Johnny’s Damon’s fielder’s choice. Damon was thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch with Evan Longoria at the plate.

When the chances were there, something always went wrong.

Perhaps the most fight displayed those in Rays uniforms were the shit-fits thrown by Maddon and B.J. Upton, both of which led to ejections.

Scroll to read more Sports & Recreation articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]