CLEVELAND (AP) — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon admitted his team was dragging a bit in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Cleveland.
It’s easy to see why. After rolling to a 9-2 win in a game that began on Friday night and ended at 2:53 a.m. Saturday, the Rays were back on the field quickly. Tampa Bay managed only four hits while starter Chris Archer was knocked out in the fifth inning as the Rays’ six-game winning streak came to a halt.
“Our guys legitimately were tired today and I don’t blame them,” Maddon said.
Saturday’s game began about 10 hours following the conclusion of Friday night’s contest that had nearly five hours of rain delays. No one could blame either team for feeling tired after a long night at the ballpark when three rain delays totaling 4:49 pushed a game that began on the last day of May into the early hours of the first day in June, finally ending at 2:53 a.m. Neither team took batting practice on the field Saturday for the game that began at 1:05 p.m.
“I really respected their effort today,” Maddon said. “It was a tough day to come back and play this game. We’ll get a good night’s sleep and come back and do well tomorrow.”
Archer was looking forward to pitching against the team that drafted him in 2006, but the Indians greeted him with a pair of two-run homers. Archer (0-1), called up from Triple-A Durham before the game, pitched four innings, surrendering five runs on seven hits.
“My fastball command wasn’t really there as consistently as I would like it,” he said. “And if you fall behind a good-hitting team and then leave pitches up, you’re going to get banged. And a good-hitting team got me on a day where I was a little off.”
Jason Giambi, the Indians’ 42-year-old designated hitter, started the scoring for Cleveland with a two-run homer over the right field wall in the second inning, following a long at-bat for Nick Swisher that resulted in a walk.
Giambi, signed to a minor league contract in February, also hit a pinch-hit home run Monday against Cincinnati and added a three-run homer against the Reds on Wednesday.
After adding another run in the third on a Giambi single, the Indians busted the game open in the fifth inning.
Jason Kipnis led off with a single, and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a two-run homer. Nick Swisher then ripped a single up the middle that took off Archer’s glove and knocked him to the ground, ending his day, though he was left uninjured.
“We just got out-pitched and out-Giambied today. That’s about it,” Maddon said.
Alex Torres, also called up from Triple-A Durham before Saturday’s game, pitched four innings of relief, giving up one hit, striking out six and providing a much-needed break for the rest of the Rays’ bullpen.
“That was an outstanding performance, that’s twice he’s done that for us,” Maddon said. “Fastball command was about as good as I’ve seen him have, a fastball going where he wants it to go. Curveball, change-up — everything was really, really good.”
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3), winning for the first time since May 11, came within three outs of his fourth career complete game shutout and first since 2011 while pitching for Colorado. He was pulled after throwing 108 pitches. Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth for Cleveland’s eighth shutout of the season.
Of the Rays’ four hits, two were infield singles and another was Luke Scott’s bunt single in the second inning.
Desmond Jennings extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double in the seventh and Jose Molina extended his own streak to nine games on one of those infield singles. Matt Joyce saw his own eight-game hitting streak come to an end.
After going 0-for-4, Evan Longoria has now matched his career-long homerless drought, which stands at 19 consecutive games.
Even with the loss, the Rays still own the best record in the Majors since May 8 (16-7).
NOTES: Friday’s lengthy game forced both teams to makes roster moves with their pitching staffs. The Rays optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau to Durham to open a roster spot for Archer. RHP Josh Lueke, who pitched two innings Friday, was also optioned to Durham while Torres was recalled from the same club. … The Indians optioned LHP Scott Barnes to Triple-A Columbus and recalled RHP Ryan Langewell from Columbus. Barnes was the losing pitcher Friday, allowing five runs in one inning. … Friday’s one-hitter was the 10th in Rays’ history and the second involving four or more pitchers. … Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore, who started Friday’s game but only pitched the first inning because of the rain delays, is scheduled to start Thursday in Detroit but that could be pushed up a day or two. … RHP Alex Cobb, who was pushed back in the rotation because of a cut finger, is slated to start Tuesday. … Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-2) is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against RHP Zach McAllister (4-4).