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Rays get runners on but can’t get them home against Jays

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No wonder the Tampa Bay Rays had trouble knocking in runs Monday night, what with umpires taking their bats and all.

The Rays left 14 runners stranded on base in an 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, leaving them loaded in the second and eighth inning and seeing an early 3-1 lead evaporate. Toronto broke open a 3-3 game with four runs in the sixth inning.

For the Rays, one of the strangest plays of the night came when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was thrown out of the game in the fifth inning by umpire Joe West for protesting a balls-and-strikes call. Cabrera was so irate he tossed his helmet and bat, which West quickly gathered up and took to the umpire’s room.

“Bad conduct does not deserve comment,” West said after the game.

Still, why would he take the bat and helmet?

“Maybe he wanted him to sign them,” suggested Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “That’s a first for me.”

Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier had three of the Rays’ 11 hits and improved his average to .260. Three of Toronto’s hits were home runs. The Rays have now allowed 16 and eight runs in their last two home games.

“They just did a better job getting the big hits than we did,” said Kiermaier. “As the game went on, it got more frustrating.”

The Rays did have a nice moment. Reliever Steve Geltz set a franchise record by retiring his 28th straight batter, beating Kyle Farnsworth’s mark by two. For Geltz, 21 of the outs have come since he was kissed by Paula Abdul after she threw out the first pitch.

Tampa Bay will play Toronto again today at 7:10 with Chris Archer on the mound against R.A. Dickey. The Rays hope to avoid a losing streak as long as three games for only the third time this season.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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