Rays blow 6-run lead and lose to Dodgers 7-6 on Rodney's throwing error
LOS ANGELES – Owning a three-run lead with closer Fernando Rodney on the mound in the ninth inning is usually good enough for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not this time.
Rodney's throwing error allowed the winning run to score, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers an improbable 7-6 victory on Friday night. The Rays blew a 6-0 lead in losing their third in a row.
"We had command of that game, we played definitely well enough to win up until the last inning, and we did not," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You've got to put this in the wastebasket as quickly as possible."
Rodney (4-3) took the loss, allowing four runs — three earned — and four hits while getting just one out in the Rays' first-ever visit to Dodger Stadium. He had 27 saves in 33 chances going into the ninth.
"We all have the utmost confidence in our relievers," starter David Price said. "I still have the utmost confidence in all the guys who came in after me."
He had the Dodgers on their heels early on.
The former Cy Young award winner allowed one unearned run and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked one, snapping a streak of 35 1-3 consecutive innings without a walk, the longest such streak in Rays' history.
"I didn't feel as good as I felt in my six other starts that I've had off the DL," Price said. "This was the most erratic I was and it was the worst command I've had."
The Rays staked Price to a 6-0 lead. Since coming off the DL on July 2, he is 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA in eight starts, including three complete games.
"I had my changeup still, but other than that, I kind of felt like everything went down a little bit," he said.
Ronald Belisaro (5-6) got the victory in relief, helping the Dodgers extend their winning streak to three games.
Hairston grounded into a fielder's choice to first base and Adrian Gonzalez scored on Rodney's throwing error. Gonzalez's RBI double tied the game 6-all after Mark Ellis' RBI triple and Nick Punto's RBI double — both hits landing in the left field corner — sparked the Dodgers' rally.
Maddon said his plan was to have Josh Lueke finish the game while hoping not to use Joel Peralta and Rodney.
"The hope was to have Lueke get (Yasiel Puig) out and then start the ninth inning," the manager said.
Instead, the Dodgers scored two runs in the eighth on Puig's RBI double and Juan Uribe's RBI single with two outs.
James Loney went 3 for 4 with two RBIs in his first game at Dodger Stadium since he was traded to Boston in a nine-player deal last August that was the biggest in Dodgers' history. Los Angeles acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Punto, all of whom have contributed in the team's last-to-first turnaround since June. The Dodgers also got pitcher Josh Beckett, who is injured.
Chris Capuano gave up six runs — five earned — and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. The left-hander hadn't allowed a run in his previous 13 innings over his last two starts since July 28.
The Rays scored three runs in the fifth when they batted around. Yunel Escobar's two-run single made it 6-0 after Ben Zobrist's RBI single accounted for the other run. Capuano allowed three singles and a double to center field in the inning before being replaced by J.P. Howell.
Escobar's RBI single led to Tampa Bay's first run in the second. Loney tacked on a two-run single to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
NOTES: Tampa Bay fell to 0-3 on its five-game West Coast trip. ... The Rays recalled Lueke from Triple-A Durham and designated RHP Kyle Farnsworth for assignment. Lueke was 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in two previous stints with the Rays this season. ... The Rays were the last major league team not to have played at Dodger Stadium.