Game 59: James Loney Provides Offense as Rays Fall to Tigers 5-2

By David Hill

A couple of days after sending out their own undefeated pitcher to the mound, the Rays were facing another undefeated pitcher in Max Scherzer. After Matt Moore lost the other day, the Rays were looking to repay the favor against Scherzer.

Both Scherzer and Rays starter Roberto Hernandez had worked out of minor jams, with the game remaining scoreless heading into the fourth. It seemed as though the game would be determined by which pitcher made the first mistake. Unfortunately for the Rays, that mistake was made by Hernandez. After giving up a one out base hit, Victor Martinez hit a two run home run to right two pitches later to break the scoreless tie. The Tigers threatened to add to the lead immediately, as two singles put runners on first and second, but Hernandez was able to get a double play ground ball to minimize the damage.

Detroit tacked on another run in the fifth. Don Kelly singled to lead off the inning, then moved up to second on a ground out before scoring on a two out base hit by Miguel Cabrera. The Rays cut into the lead in the top of the sixth, as James Loney drove in Ben Zobrist to cut the lead to 3-1. However, the Tigers got that run right back in their half of the frame, putting runners on first and third with one out. Hernandez was pulled for Jake McGee, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Avisail Garcia before getting out of the inning.

Detroit added another run in the seventh to increase the lead to 5-1 before the Rays threatened in the top of the eighth. With two outs and a runner on first, Evan Longoria hit a ball off the end of the bat down the right field line, where it hopped into the seats for a ground rule double. Loney followed with an infield single to third, plating a run and cutting the lead to 5-2. Desmond Jennings followed with a fly ball deep to left, but Andy Dirks tracked it down to end the threat.

The Rays were unable to threaten in the ninth as they fell to Scherzer and the Tigers 5-2. Hernandez took the loss, giving up four runs on ten hits and a walk in his 5.1 innings of work, striking out six batters. Loney was 2-4 with two RBIs on the day.