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Road no relief for reeling Rays


Road no relief for reeling Rays
By MARC TOPKIN

Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE - They thought it would be good to get away, and they couldn't have gone farther, a 2,500-mile, nearly six-hour flight diagonally across the country. The air was crisp, the scenery splendid and the Safeco Field atmosphere as different as they could have hoped.

But the results for the Rays were very much the same Tuesday night, a 4-2 loss to the thus-far surprising Mariners, who lead the American League West. The Rays , who are last in the AL East at 5-9 overall, have lost six of their past seven and scored three or fewer runs in all six games.

"We've got to score more runs," manager Joe Maddon said. "You can't blame the pitching when we give up four points."

Certainly they missed B.J. Upton, as the key hit, a two-run triple by backup catcher Rob Johnson, went over the head of substitute centerfielder Gabe Kapler in the fourth. Kapler may play as shallow as Upton, as the Rays like, but he doesn't have the range, and it showed as Johnson hit what essentially was a fly ball to deep centerfield.

Two batters later, Yuniesky Betancourt drove another ball beyond Kapler's reach, a triple to left-center that made it 4-2. And two batters after that, Kapler had to make a long run and stretched out fully to catch Endy Chavez's drive for the final out.

"We got beat twice there, that's part of our defense," Maddon said. But he also blamed Rays pitcher Andy Sonnanstine for not executing and hanging a 1-and-2 breaking ball that Johnson was able to drive.

But Upton alone isn't enough to fix the offense, which continues to putter along, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays scored two in the first on a leadoff walk by Jason Bartlett, a one-out double by Evan Longoria to deep left and a two-out single up the middle by Pat Burrell off lefty Jarrod Washburn, but that was about it.

The Rays had two on with one out, and the bases loaded with two outs, in the fourth but didn't score. Same in the seventh, when Kapler led off with a double, and the eighth, when Carlos Pe?a, whose 12-game hitting streak ended, drew a one-out walk and moved up on a wild pitch.

Sonnanstine remains winless after working six innings, allowing four runs (three earned, the other the result of his throwing error) and six hits .

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 22, 2009

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