Game 115: Rays Pull Off Hidden Ball Trick In Loss To Dodgers

By David Hill

On the heels of last night’s disappointing loss to the Dodgers, the Rays had Roberto Hernandez going against Zack Greinke. On paper, it appeared to be a mismatch. The game turned out no differently on the field.

The Dodgers got to Hernandez early. After Nick Punto reached on an infield single, Adrian Gonzalez golfed a pitch down and in for a two run homer, setting the tone foe the game. Although Hernandez managed to strikeout the side in the inning, the damage had already been done.

Hernandez got into more trouble in the third, walking Greinke to lead off the inning. As walking the pitcher never leads to anything good, the Dodgers took advantage. After former Ray Carl Crawford doubled, Punto struck again, this time with a base hit to center, plating Greinke and Crawford to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

Los Angeles loaded the bases against Hernandez in the fourth, and it looked as though the floodgates were about to open. A.J. Ellis hit a sacrifice fly to center, and all the runners advanced, seemingly giving the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out and a run already in. However, the Rays had some trickery up their sleeve. James Loney got the ball near the mound, and casually flipped the ball to Yunel Escobar. Escobar then flipped the ball to Evan Longoria when Juan Uribe was not looking. The moment Uribe moved his foot from the bag, Longoria tagged Uribe out, as the Rays successfully pulled off the hidden ball trick for the first time since 2007, when former Rays Julio Lugo got Alberto Callaspo on the play.

That play would prove to be the highlight for the Rays. Hernandez failed to last at least five innings, making him the fourrth Rays starter in the last five games to fail to get through the fifth. Overall, he gave up five earned runs on eight hits and a walk in four innings.

Tampa had a couple of chances, having runners on first and third with one out in the fourth and putting runners on first and second with one out in the fifth. However, they were unable to cash in any of their opportunities, as Greinke held them off the board. The bullpen took care of the rest, and the Dodgers went on to shutout the Rays 5-0.

Ben Zobrist was 2-4 for the Rays batting out of the leadoff spot. Longoria and Matthew Joyce each had a double in the loss.