10/05/08 8:39 PM ET
Rays Short Hops: Game 3
Offense unable to capitalize in big spots at U.S. Cellular Field
By David Just / MLB.com
In < 25 words ...
John Danks silenced the Rays' bats after stranding four runners through the first two innings. The Rays had few opportunities after that.
Evan Longoria walked to lead off the sixth and Carl Crawford had a favorable 2-0 count in the next at-bat. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen headed to the mound to have a chat with his starter and calm him down. The chat turned out to be exactly what Danks needed; he struck out Crawford and Willy Aybar and got Dioner Navarro to fly out to shallow right field. Longoria never left first base.
9 -- The Rays struck out nine times, and there were runners on base six of those times. Not getting those runners over cost the Rays in a big way.
Hard to give Upton too much praise after striking out twice and flying out to end the second-inning rally. But, he did hit the 411-foot home run in the seventh that kept the Rays in the game.
Longoria did nothing with the bat, but he played superb defense all game to keep the White Sox close. He made a diving stop in the sixth and turned a clean double play in the fifth.
Garza had trouble locating all game, and the walks came back to bite him. He walked four batters, three of which came around to score. He also threw one wild pitch.
Sense of October
Longoria expressed his displeasure with home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa after striking out looking to end the seventh. A fastball from Octavio Dotel was about letter-high, and Longoria let Kulpa know it. Longoria, who represented the tying run in that situation, left a runner stranded at second.
3 AB, 2 H, 1 R, BB
Comment: Navarro didn't do much in terms of driving in runs or scoring, but not many Rays batters did. His two hits were a team high.
2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Comment: Bradford came on in the seventh with no outs and a runner on first. He got Jermaine Dye to ground into a double play and retired the next four hitters he faced.
"The quality of the at-bats were good, [Danks] just got out of some difficult moments right there. He's never going to be easy, particularly with runners in scoring position." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon, on leaving four runners on in the first two innings against Danks Next step
The Rays have two more chances to clinch and advance to the American League Championship Series. But it won't get easier Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox went 54-28 this season.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.