Nothing's sadder than to see the Rays lose a game due to sloppy defense when they have three big power bats out of the lineup, Stephen Strasburg against them on the mound, and a pitcher making his MLB debut. Opportunities to win games with such a limited roster don't come around very often, and the Rays blew a big one last night.

The difference in this ball game was an Elliot Johnson throwing error, which was probably just as much Sean Rodriguez's fault. It happened during an eventful first inning for the Nationals, which was started by a leadoff double and then an RBI single by Bryce Harper.

The next batter was Ryan Zimmerman, who grounded out to shortstop Elliot Johnson who would try to get Harper out at third but threw the ball away resulting in the second run of the game. Later in the inning, the Nats would continue to take advantage of the error with an Ian Desmond single.

Down 3-0, the Rays would start to chip away in the second with a solo homer off the bat of Jose Molina.

In the third, the Rays were right back it, as Hideki Matsui cut the deficit to one with an RBI single.

While the Rays were making it a very close ballgame, Archer was doing his part, throwing five straight no-hit innings following the shaky first. He struck out seven Nationals, walked just one batter—which is a great accomplish for him—and allowed just one earned run through his six excellent innings of work.

Barring a blown save by Fernando Rodney, the Rays would of won this game by a score of 2-1 if it wasn't for just one bad play. Well, that's baseball.

The Rays could not get to the Nationals' bullpen, and would lose by a final of 3-2.

The Rays are now 38-30 on the season, and blew a great chance to gain on both the Yankees and Orioles. New York and Baltimore both lost their games yesterday, but the Red Sox won their fourth straight and are now just three games behind the Rays.

Notable Stat Lines:

  • C. Archer (L,0-1): 3 R (1 ER), 3 H, 7 K, BB through 6.0 IP.
  • B. Badenhop: Perfect with 2 K through 1.1 IP.
  • C. Pena: 1-3 R, BB
  • H. Matsui: 1-4, RBI
  • J. Molina: 1-4, HR, RBI, R

Rays News and Notes:

  • Lefties Matt Moore (4-5, 4.16) and Gio Gonzalez (8-3, 2.52) will square off for the rubber match in the series tonight; 7:05 first pitch.
  • Matt Joyce was out of the lineup last night, as his back remained stiff and sore. Joyce still seems confident he won't land on the DL.
  • 2011 first-round draft pick Taylor Guerrieri pitched five shutout innings in his pro debut with short-season Hudson Valley.
  • Luke Scott (back) is improving and is looking to return to active duties on Monday.
  • There was an interesting article over at DRaysBay yesterday that makes us pretty worried about Sean Rodriguez.
  • Joe Maddon and Davey Johnson continued to go back and forth exchanging words.
  • There was no ruling by MLB on Joel Peralta yesterday, and he actually entered the game in the eighth inning. A suspension (probably less than 10 games) is likely for Peralta, which is the last thing the Rays need right now.
  • This is what the Rays will be wearing for the throwback game next week against Detroit: