Chance to advance spoiled for Rays
Tampa Bay cooled down in Chicago as White Sox take Game 3
CHICAGO -- Inside the Rays' clubhouse, the rolled up plastic above the lockers told the story: No celebrations.
Had the Rays won Sunday, the plastic would have been unfurled to protect the players' clothes from getting soaked by champagne.
"Well, it's never -- I mean, to think you are just going to waltz through this whole thing is not a good thought," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's very unreasonable."
After a 35-minute rain delay, the game-time temperature was 58 degrees and it continued to drop throughout the game. The Rays entered the game hoping to complete the first sweep of the White Sox in team history to advance to the AL Championship Series.
Now, the Rays hold a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five series that will resume Monday night with Game 4 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"This game is in the history books," B.J. Upton said. "We're already looking forward to tomorrow. We're going to re-focus and do what we've been doing all year.
"[Sunday's atmosphere and setting] was a little bit different for us, but we'll definitely be ready tomorrow. If needed, we're going back to our home. So I don't think there's anything that we're really pressing about. We just want to come out of here with a win."
Carlos Pena added that the Rays will not look at Sunday's loss as any kind of a momentum killer.
"Why should we? Does that help at all?" Pena said. "That's absolutely crazy to even think that way because all it does is hurt us. So we'll just think about getting ready for tomorrow."
With the crowd decked out in black and waving white towels, the Rays took a 1-0 lead in the second on Akinori Iwamura's infield single off White Sox starter John Danks that drove home Dioner Navarro.
A.J. Pierzynski answered for the White Sox in the bottom of the third with an RBI single off Rays starter Matt Garza to tie the game at 1. The White Sox then took a 4-1 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Alexei Ramirez and a two-run double by Dewayne Wise. And Juan Uribe singled home Brian Anderson with two outs in the sixth to push the White Sox lead to 5-1.
Garza wasn't happy about his performance.
"Real frustrating," Garza said. "It's something you've got to live with. There's not much you can say. I had a good game plan and I didn't really stray too far from it. They really didn't adjust too well. A poke here and there, that's all it took."
Meanwhile, Danks settled into a nice groove.
"He was doing what he normally does," Rocco Baldelli said. "He was pitching inside real well. He has that nice cutter he works with. He mixes up his pitches. He's not a guy who stands there and just throws fastballs. He threw everything and he threw it well."
Danks tried to keep his pitching simple.
"I felt like I was trying to keep doing what I was doing," Danks said. "The only change I made was trying to do too much in the seventh. Felt like I was losing some stuff, I was getting a little tired, was trying to throw too hard and make too good of a pitch rather than just stay within myself and doing that, which got me in trouble."
Upton brought the trouble when he ripped a two-run homer into the left-field stands off Danks in the seventh that cut the lead to 5-3.
"Left the ball up to Upton and he didn't miss it," Danks said.
The Rays, who came from behind to win Games 1 and 2, did manage to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth when Pena faced hard-throwing White Sox closer Bobby Jenks with a runner aboard.
Pena got close while swinging at two fastballs before Jenks struck him out looking to end the game. Pena smiled at what happened, noting that when a pitcher who throws 97 mph-plus can drop a solid curveball across the plate, the chances of connecting are remote.
"All you can do is tip your cap to him," Pena said.
The Rays lost Sunday, but they are a team with the collective blood pressure of a burglar and looked anything other than panicked following the game.
"We're still right where we need to be," Garza said. "We're still in the driver's seat. We're going to come out tomorrow and play hard for nine and see what happens."
Evan Longoria spoke to the fact that Sunday was the fourth consecutive time the White Sox have avoided bowing out in elimination games this season, calling the White Sox a tough and experienced club.
"And they've been in this situation before," Longoria said. "We've just got to look to bury them early and take this crowd out of it. As you see, if they get going, it's tough to slow down the momentum in a place like this."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.