Rays robbed 2-1 in Detroit

While the Rays weren't swinging any heavy lumber Monday night, they relied on solid defense and pitching to keep them in this close game. If Tumpane needed to see what it looked like when someone got gunned down on a fly ball with one out and the bases loaded, all he needed to do was think back to the amazing catch-and-throw by B.J. Upton in the first inning; Upton gunned down Austin Jackson to close out the bottom of the opening frame.

Rays rookie Alex Cobb threw a solid game, giving up a single run on eight hits through five and two-thirds innings on the hill. He struck out seven Tigers batters.

That run yielded by Cobb came in the fifth frame, when Brennan Boesch notched a two-out double and was singled home by Victor Martinez.

The Rays' second first run of the game came against their former setup man, Joaquin Benoit. John Jaso, Johnny Damon and Ben Zobrist singled back-to-back-to-back to load the bags for Ruggiano. Poetically enough, his sacrifice fly scored the winning tying run.

The official score card will tell you that Detroit eventually won it in the bottom of the 10th, after Martinez singled and was tripled home by Ramon Santiago.

Officially, Rays closer-apparent Kyle Farnsworth took the loss, falling to 2-1 on the year.

This, of course, occurred in a 10th inning that never should have happened.

Tumpane officially sucks at his job.

Not that Detroit is any stranger to blown calls (Galarraga's perfect game, anyone?).

Of course, this one didn't cost anyone his chance at immortality; it just cost the Rays the game they rightfully won in regulation.

Good teams play well enough to overcome bad officiating.

Hey, we're talking about baseball players, not miracle workers.

click to enlarge Stock photo - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
Stock photo

click to enlarge Stock photo - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
Stock photo

Good teams play well enough to overcome bad officiating.

That mantra could not have come from anyone associated with the American League East division. It works right up to the point that it doesn't.

It didn't work for the Tampa Bay Rays in their one-off in the home of the Detroit Tigers Monday night. An impossibly-bad call by home plate umpire John Tumpane cost the Rays a run in the top of the seventh inning. Casey Kotchman flied out to right field with one out and the bases loaded; Justin Ruggiano tagged up at third and headed home on the play. Alex Avila blocked the plate but missed with the swipe tag.

Ruggiano got his foot on the plate.

Then Avila tagged him.

Here's a big hint to any aspiring umpires out there: if the runner touches the plate before being tagged, he's safe.

Instead, Tumpane issued the heave-ho, ending the inning on a 7-2 double play. While Ruggiano clearly wasn't happy, he walked away, living to play another day as Rays manager Joe Maddon flew out of the visitors' dugout to take up the fight. Shortly thereafter, Maddon got a heave-ho of his own, ejected for trying to explain the rule book to Tumpane. Apparently, David Price joined him in exile, one of many vocally-unhappy Rays in the dugout.

It was would have been the tying run in a one-run ballgame.

The run Tampa Bay scored in the top of the eighth was would have been the go-ahead tally and eventual game-winner.

That, however, is not how it worked out.

Scroll to read more Sports & Recreation articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

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