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So, what's new?


So, what's new?
Rays' struggles against Indians continue with 11-7 setback.

By MARC LANCASTER

mlancaster@tampatrib.com

ST. PETERSBURG - Whether in good times or bad throughout their history, the Rays have always saved some of their worst Baseball for the Cleveland Indians.

Nearly 70 percent of the time the teams have met, the Indians have come out on top. That was true even last year, as the humiliating sweep at Jacobs Field heading into the All-Star break served as the low point of the Rays' season.

And it was true again Thursday, despite the Indians entering the opener of a four-game set lugging the worst record in the American League. The Indians showed hints of why this season has been so miserable for them by allowing the Rays back into a game that should have been over by the midway point, but their eventual 11-7 victory counted just the same.

The tipping point came in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs and a man on second in a 2-0 game, Asdrubal Cabrera topped a routine grounder to Akinori Iwamura. The second baseman couldn't get a handle on it and everybody was safe, rather innocently setting the stage for a complete meltdown. James Shields would need 21 more pitches to escape the inning, allowing a pair of doubles, a walk and an infield single as three runs crossed the plate.

"My emotions got the best of me in that inning," Shields said. "That's something that I normally don't do, and I think the team kind of saw that and fed off of it after that. It's one of those things where if I bear down and make some pitches after that, we're right in the ballgame."

Instead, the Rays were right out, with Joe Nelson compounding the problem by allowing four more in the sixth to make it 9-0.

"Once the floodgate opened, it really opened up," Manager Joe Maddon said.

Maddon took Jason Bartlett out of the game at that juncture, trying to grab a half-game of rest for his shortstop. But the Rays promptly dropped six runs on the Indians to breathe a little life into the Trop - at least until Grant Balfour surrendered a pair in the eighth.

It added up to another disappointment for the Rays , who just can't seem to get a foothold. Three more with Cleveland this weekend should give them a chance, but given the Rays' 5-20 record against the Indians under Maddon and 28-61 mark overall, all bets are off.

"We bring out the best in Cleveland, there's no question about that," Maddon said. "I've only seen that team good. I can't understand how they've ever struggled."

Indians ? 11 Rays ? 7

Indians AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Sizemore cf 5 1 1 0 0 1 .227

A.Cbrra ss 5 4 4 2 0 0 .336

V.Martinez c 5 2 4 4 0 0 .400

Choo dh 5 2 4 3 0 1 .287

Peralta 3b 3 0 1 1 2 0 .248

DeRosa 1b 5 0 2 1 0 2 .245

B.Frncsco lf 5 0 0 0 0 2 .236

LaPorta rf 5 2 2 0 0 1 .261

Valbuena 2b 5 0 0 0 0 2 .133

Totals 43 11 18 11 2 9

Rays AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

B.Upton cf 4 1 0 0 1 1 .172

Bartlett ss 2 0 0 0 0 0 .363

a-Kapler ph-lf 1 1 0 0 1 0 .229

Longoria 3b 4 0 1 0 0 1 .343

C.Pena 1b 4 1 0 0 0 2 .254

W.Aybar dh 4 1 1 1 0 0 .271

Gross rf 4 1 2 1 0 0 .271

Zobrist lf-ss 2 2 1 3 2 0 .280

Iwamura 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .281

M.Hernandez c 3 0 0 0 0 0 .292

b-Navarro ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .189

Totals 33 7 6 5 4 4

Indians 000 234 020 - 11 18 1

Rays 000 006 001 - 7 6 1

a-walked for Bartlett in the 6th. b-grounded into a double play for M.Hernandez in the 9th.

E-A.Cabrera (2), Iwamura (5). LOB-Indians 7, Rays 3. 2B-A.Cabrera (8), V.Martinez 2 (12), Choo (8), Gross (3). 3B-A.Cabrera (2). HR-Choo (4), off J.Nelson; Zobrist (6), off Herges. RBIs-A.Cabrera 2 (19), V.Martinez 4 (25), Choo 3 (21), Peralta (15), DeRosa (23), W.Aybar (4), Gross (7), Zobrist 3 (17). SB-LaPorta (1), B.Upton 2 (9). DP-Indians 1 (Peralta, Valbuena, DeRosa); Rays 2 (Longoria, Iwamura, C.Pena), (Longoria, C.Pena).

Indians IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Cmna W2-4 5 1/3 4 5 4 3 2 82 5.70

Herges 1 2/3 1 1 1 0 0 22 2.57

Laffey 2 1 1 1 1 2 34 3.45

Rays IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Shlds L3-4 5 10 5 2 1 5 98 3.98

J.Nelson 2/3 4 4 4 1 1 39 6.32

Balfour 2 1/3 4 2 2 0 3 28 6.32

Shouse 1 0 0 0 0 0 7 3.55

T-3:04. A-17,169 (36,973).

Reporter Marc Lancaster can be reached at (813) 259-7227.

Photo credit: Tribune photo by JASON BEHNKEN

Photo: Rays starter James Shields watches as Victor Martinez's double scores two runs in the fifth inning Thursday night. The Indians scored three runs in the frame after Shields had nearly recorded the third out. "My emotions got the best of me in that inning," he said.

Copyright ? 2009, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail library@tampatrib.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 16, 2009

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