ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Brian Tallet is getting sick of the sight of the Tampa Rays.
Who can blame him?
In his past three starts, every time Tallet has peered in from the mound he has seen nothing but Rays with bats in their hands.
Three starts ago, July 8, the Rays pounded him for eight runs off 11 hits, chasing him from the game after three innings.
Then on July 25, his next start, it was seven hits and five runs over six innings.
Oddly enough, both starts ended in no-decisions in what would be identical 10-9 losses, the latter one taking 12 innings.
The saying goes that ‘third time’s a charm’ but you would be hard-pressed to get Tallet nodding in agreement as the lanky lefty was lit up once again in an 8-3 loss that put an end to Tampa’s season-high five-game losing skid.
For the opening two innings Tallet looked as if he’d gain a measure of revenge as both frames went three up, three down.
Tallet retired the first batter in the third and then the roof caved in as the Rays pounded away for five hits and four runs to overtake the Jays 2-0 lead.
Once they got in front the Rays stayed there putting the crowd of 29,632 in an upbeat mood for the B-52s post-game concert.
The Rays post-game concerts, held on Saturday nights through the summer, have brought the home side nothing but good fortune. Since they started in 2008 the Rays Summer Concert Series has resulted in a 14-1 record. Bring it on, baby.
Tallet, meanwhile, dropped to 5-7 and will be praying that he’s not in the rotation mix when the Jays face Tampa the next homestand, Aug. 24-26.
Tallet, however, has become something of a favourite tune for the Rays.
With two on and one out in the third, Jason Bartlett delivered an RBI single and that blow was followed by a two-run double by Carl Crawford and blast off the top of the left-centre wall by Evan Longoria that made it 4-2. The Rays added a run in the fifth and chased Tallet in the sixth.
Tallet’s line would be 5 2/3 innings, 10 hits, five earned runs. So in the three starts it was 28 hits and 18 runs over a combined 14 2/3 innings.
The Jays big splash of the game came in the third when Aaron Hill hammered his 28th homer of the season into the seats in left, a two-run shot.
The 28 jacks are the most by any middle infielder in club history and the most by any American League infielder since Alfonso Soriano hit 35 for Texas in 2005.
With Tampa starting lefty Scott Kazmir, Jays manager Cito Gaston opted for his right-handed hitting lineup which meant that Joe Inglett and the hot-hitting Lyle Overbay were on the bench with Jose Bautista and Kevin Millar in the lineup.
Gaston said that he was tempted to have Overbay start — he’s 4-for-12 lifetime against Kazmir — seeing as the first baseman has been his best hitter of late. Since Aug. 1, Overbay has been hitting .414 (12-for-29) with three homers and seven RBIs.
Gaston, though, was thinking ‘big picture’ and looking ahead to the Boston series next week at home where the Jays will be going up against lefty Jon Lester, one of the toughest in the game.
“I was looking at letting Bautista and Millar have an opportunity to swing the bat before facing a guy like that,” Gaston reasoned.
They didn’t accomplish much in their warmup against Kazmir as they combined to go 0-for-7.