ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays lost slugger Evan Longoria to a sore right foot early in a loss to major league wins leader Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers.
Longoria irritated plantar fasciitis, which has bothered him for the past month and left after two innings of the Rays’ 6-3 loss on Friday night.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said the third baseman will not play Saturday and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Tigers. Longoria will be examined Saturday, at which time the Rays will find out if he will miss any additional time.
“Of course I’m concerned, but I don’t know the level yet until I get more information tomorrow,” Maddon said. “A little bit tender in the foot area. We have to wait for it to calm down tomorrow to make a better evaluation.”
Longoria was sent home during the game. He was limited to the designated hitter role for a few games earlier this month because of the problem.
Longoria, who has 17 homers and 47 RBIs in 80 games this season, grounded out in the second inning and was replaced at third base by Kelly Johnson to start the third.
Scherzer (12-0) became the first starting pitcher to win 12 consecutive decisions to begin a season in 27 years. The right-hander allowed three runs, four hits, walked one and struck out nine in seven innings to become the first pitcher in Tigers history to win his first 12 decisions as a starter.
“He’s been hot all season, so I guess it’s a normal start for him,” Tampa Bay outfielder Desmond Jennings said.
Scherzer also became the first in the majors to begin a season with at least 12 straight victories since Roger Clemens did it on the way to starting 14-0 with the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
“He’s got a little of that wiffle ball look, where the ball is jumping all over the place,” Maddon said. “Then he gets the velocity when he wants it. There’s a reason why he’s 12-0. He’s very good.”
Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 4 and drove in three runs, boosting his major league-leading batting average to .377 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs, also tops in the big leagues. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Alex Colome (1-1) to extend his hitting streak to a season-best 13 games, then added a solo shot off the rookie for a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
“Just bad pitches … badly located,” Maddon said. “The same pitch located better would not be hit out of the ballpark. When you get a hitter of Cabrera’s caliber, that’s the whole point. If you make a mistake, he’s going to hit it more often than the other guys can hit that same mistake.”
Cabrera also singled in the sixth, giving him three of Detroit’s four hits off Colome. Prince Fielder doubled in the fourth, tagged up and hustled to third base on Victor Martinez’s fly ball to right and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0 before the Rays gradually climbed back into the game.
“He was really hot coming into tonight’s game … when he’s hot, it’s just different,” Maddon said of Cabrera.
Ben Zobrist and Wil Myers hit solo homers for Tampa Bay. Luke Scott’s RBI double trimmed Scherzer’s lead to 4-3 in the seventh.
Cabrera doubled off Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth for his fourth hit. Fielder gave the Detroit bullpen some breathing room when he followed with his first homer since June 4, a towering two-run shot off Cesar Ramos that struck one of the catwalks that support the roof at Tropicana Field.
Al Alburquerque and Drew Smyly worked a scoreless eighth for the Tigers. Joaquin Benoit finished a combined five-hitter, earning his fifth save.
Scherzer, who’s fanned at least six in each of his 16 starts this season, retired 11 in a row before Zobrist’s first-pitch drive to right with two outs in the fourth. The closest the Rays had come to getting a hit up until then was Longoria’s second-inning grounder over the mound that Omar Infante ran down behind second base before making an off-balance throw to first for the out.
Myers hit his third career homer with one out in the fifth. The rookie, playing in his 11th game, singled with two outs in the seventh and scored from first base when Scott doubled into the right field corner.
NOTES: Reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price will rejoin Tampa Bay’s rotation Tuesday night at Houston. The left-hander went on the disabled list for the first time in his career May 16 with a strained left triceps. He made two minor league rehab starts with Class A Charlotte and said he felt good after a bullpen session Friday. The Rays have gone 21-20 while he’s been on the DL. … The Tigers recalled reliever Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo. To make room on the roster, reliever Evan Reed was optioned to Toledo. Detroit manager Jim Leyland said Rondon was not “brought back as a closer.” Instead, Benoit will get most save opportunities. … Rays RHP Alex Cobb, who was struck in the right ear by a ball hit by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on June 15, played catch during batting practice. … Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (right shoulder strain) will make a 60-pitch rehab start Monday, probably for Class A Lakeland . . . Leyland plans to rest RF Torii Hunter on Saturday night … Leyland, who will manage the AL All-Star team, said he will not use any pitcher who starts a game on the preceding Sunday.