ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon didn't mince any words after the Rays' blowout loss.
New York's Chris Young settled down after a shaky first inning to get his first win in more than a year and the Mets beat the Rays 11-2 on Tuesday night.
``Possibly played our worst game of the season at home,' Maddon said. ``Kind of a flat game for us. That was a clunker.'
The Rays have dropped 11 of the past 17 in their home ballpark.
Young allowed nine hits over 5 2-3 innings, walked two and struck out four in his second major league outing since returning from shoulder surgery that sidelined him most of last season. The right-hander won for the first time since beating Philadelphia 7-1 on April 5, 2011 - his first start in a Mets uniform.
``He had some tricky stuff,' Rays outfielder Matt Joyce said.
Rookie Jordany Valdespin drove in a career-high four runs, three with a pair of two-out hits. The Mets, swept last weekend by the crosstown rival Yankees, have scored a major league-leading 134 runs with two outs - nine of them in their first appearance at Tropicana Field in 11 years.
``They have this propensity to score two-out runs, which they did again,' Maddon said. ``It's just unbelievable. Nobody on, two outs and all of sudden the floodgates open. That's not the way you draw it up, but you've got to give them a lot of credit. The Mets are playing the game well and hard. That's how they beat us. They just outplayed us.'
Young yielded a bases-loaded single to Hideki Matsui and a sacrifice fly to Will Rhymes in the first. The right-hander, who launched his comeback by allowing three runs and six hits in five innings of a no-decision against Washington on June 5, worked out of tight spots in the next two innings to keep the Mets close.
Valdespin's two-run single off Alex Cobb (2-3) put New York ahead 3-2 in the fifth. His two-out RBI double was the first big blow in the Mets' six-run seventh.
Daniel Murphy followed with a two-run single that made it 6-2. Ike Davis finished off the Rays with a three-run homer off reliever J.P. Howell.
``It was a tough game, definitely,' Howell said.
Cobb, who lost his third straight start after winning the first two following his promotion from Triple-A Durham, allowed six runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
``The last three outings I've felt great,' Cobb said. ``It's just the results aren't showing right now.'
The Mets' struggles with runners in scoring position continued. After going 5 for 18 in such situations while being swept by the Yankees, New York was 0 for 4 in the first two innings against Cobb. The first run scored against the Tampa Bay starter raced home on shortstop Elliot Johnson's fielding error.
The Rays weren't much better early, going 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings. Only one run scored when Matsui lined a pitch off the right-field wall with the bases loaded in the first, and Young worked out of a jam in the second by striking out Rhymes and Jose Molina after giving up singles to B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce to begin the inning.
``We had opportunities but didn't take advantage,' Maddon said.
Cobb retired eight in a row before the Mets finally broke through against the right-hander with two outs in the fifth. Omar Quintanilla singled and Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled before Valdespin's two-run single.
Valdespin earned his fourth RBI of the night when he grounded out in the eighth. Lucas Duda followed with a two-out RBI single that made it 11-2.
New York relievers Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, Miguel Bautista, Elvin Ramirez and Frank Francisco shut out the Rays over the last 3 1-3 innings.
NOTES: With Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist out of the lineup because of a bruised right hand, Sean Rodriguez moved to second base, and Will Rhymes started at third. Zobrist was injured when he was struck in the hand by a throw while sliding into second base during Sunday's win at Miami. X-rays were negative and he is day to day. ... The Rays continue to take a cautious approach to 3B Evan Longoria's return. He has been on the disabled list since May 1 because of a partially torn left hamstring. He ran before the game and could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.
The Associated Press News Service
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