ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It all started so innocently.
Jeremy Guthrie retired the side in order on 11 pitches, nine for strikes, in the bottom of the first inning. He induced a bouncer to third base from Rays cleanup hitter Evan Longoria leading off the second.
This is the end of the innocence.
Mark Reynolds tried to make a barehanded grab, but the ball deflected off his fingers and rolled down the left field line. The official scorer here ruled it a hit, but he easily could have given Reynolds an error.
Matt Joyce crushed Guthrie’s next pitch, a 91 mph fastball, to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.
Reid Brignac singled with two outs before John Jaso flied to center on Guthrie’s 19th pitch of the inning.
Brian Roberts grounded to short in the first inning, making him 3-for-40 since May 1.
Derrek Lee grounded to second, making him 4-for-33.
J.J. Hardy led off the top of the third with a single into left field, making him 8-for-13 with two walks, a homer, three RBIs and a run scored since coming off the disabled list.
In his last outing, Guthrie allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings against the Rays at Camden Yards. He shut them out on three hits over eight innings in the April 1 opener at Tropicana Field.
Guthrie has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his seven starts before tonight.