ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rays just cannot seem to pull themselves out of their early-season struggles.
Granted, the traditionally pitching-rich, hitting-challenged Rays have been hampered with long-term injuries to starters Jeremy Hellickson (elbow), Alex Cobb (oblique) and Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery), but their inability to piece together enough offense and defense to gain a footing in the American League East is becoming troubling to manager Joe Maddon.
Neither has been quite good enough, and the Rays slumped back below .500 at 10-11 with a 6-4, 12-inning loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay has lost in its last three chances to become a winning team. On Wednesday, right-hander Jake Odorizzi lasted just 3 1/3 innings, relinquishing four earned runs on five hits and three walks.
"We pitched and played so well to win that game," Maddon said. "We've lost two games here in this homestead that we could've put in the win column, and those are the kinds of things you really have to get beyond. It's not for a lack of effort. The guys have been great. The intensity is wonderful. We've just got to figure out how to push it through somehow."
The Rays had a chance to push through dramatically in the ninth inning on Wednesday, but 2013 Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, slogging through a rough second season with a .230 batting average, grounded out to end the threat.
STREAK: Lost one
NEXT: Twins (RHP Ricky Nolasco, 1-2, 6.08 ERA) vs. Rays (LHP Erik Bedard, 0-0, 6.35)
--DH Matt Joyce tied the Rays lead with 12 RBIs after knocking in two with a groundout and sacrifice fly on Wednesday. He had just six RBIs in his final 30 games of the 2013 season.
--CF Desmond Jennings went 3-for-4 with a walk, his first time this season recording three hits and reaching base four times. He stole two bases for the first multi-steal game by a Ray since he did it July 5, 2013.
--RHP Jake Odorizzi allowed four runs in the fourth inning to earn a no-decision on Wednesday in a 12-inning, 6-4 loss to Minnesota. Opponents are batting .121 against him the first time through the lineup and .442 thereafter. Odorizzi lasted just 3 1/3 innings on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, relinquishing four earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out five, throwing 53 strikes in 88 pitches. Odorizzi, pressed into the rotation with the elbow injury of RHP Jeremy Hellickson, entered the fourth with a 2-0 lead.
--RHP Grant Balfour worked scoreless ninth and 10th innings on Wednesday in a 6-4, 12-inning loss to Minnesota. He had done the same on Sunday against the Yankees. He had not worked consecutive 2-plus-inning outings since June 6 and June 12, 2010.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We pitched and played so well to win that game. We've lost two games here in this homestead that we could've put in the win column, and those are the kinds of things you really have to get beyond. It's not for a lack of effort. The guys have been great. The intensity is wonderful. We've just got to figure out how to push it through somehow." -- Manager Joe Maddon, after the Rays lost to the Twins in 12 innings Wednesday.
--LHP Matt Moore (sore left elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8. He was examined April 9 by Dr. James Andrews, and a dye-injection MRI exam revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He threw on April 14 and Moore underwent successful ligament replacement Tommy John surgery April 22 by Rays medical director Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola. He is out for the season.
--RHP Alex Cobb (left oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. An MRI exam confirmed the initial diagnosis. He could miss up to six weeks.
--RHP Jeremy Hellickson (arthroscopic elbow surgery in January 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list March 30. He started throwing March 12 and continued to report good progress through the end of spring training. He's scheduled to throw off the mound April 15 in Baltimore. He is expected to miss the first six-to-eight weeks of the season.
--SS Tim Beckham (right knee surgery in December 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list March 30. He might be able to return midseason. He was rehabbing with Class A Advanced club as of April 19.
LHP David Price
RHP Chris Archer
RHP Jake Odorizzi
LHP Erik Bedard
RHP Grant Balfour (closer)
RHP Heath Bell
RHP Joel Peralta
LHP Jake McGee
LHP Cesar Ramos
RHP Josh Lueke
RHP Brandon Gomes
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo
1B James Loney
2B Ben Zobrist
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Evan Longoria
INF/OF Sean Rodriguez
INF/OF Logan Forsythe
LF David DeJesus
CF Desmond Jennings
RF Wil Myers
DH Matt Joyce
OF Brandon Guyer
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