DETROIT (AP) - So much for friendlier baseball at home plate.
Tampa Bay's Justin Ruggiano figures that if he can't get a call by sliding into home plate, he's going to go back to the old ways.
Ruggiano was called out by umpire John Tumpane while trying to score on a fly ball in the seventh inning of Tampa Bay's 2-1 loss to Detroit Monday. He beat Magglio Ordonez's throw to the plate, but appeared to miss the plate after hitting Alex Avila's outstretched leg.
Avila appeared to miss the tag and Ruggiano reached back with his foot to tap the base before Avila succeeded with a second attempt.
``Whether or not I got in on the first attempt or not - I'm pretty sure I did - but if I didn't, I know I got in on the second time,' he said.
Ruggiano said the call could change his mind about running into the catcher on close plays.
``If they are going to give the catcher the benefit of the doubt on those plays, I feel like that narrows down our options to a collision at the plate every time,' he said. ``It's not something you want to do, but for me now, it seems like if there's anything close, I'm going to have to make a decision.
``The decision will have to be made whether or not to risk being called out or going after the catcher.'
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing the call, which came with Tampa trailing 1-0, as was pitcher David Price. Price had the day off, having started on Saturday.
``The replay spoke for itself,' Maddon said. ``I'm a little annoyed that sometimes it seems to go against us on the heavy side.'
Crew chief Mike Everitt spoke to a pool reporter after the game.
``In his judgement, he believed (Ruggiano) was tagged out before he touched the plate - in his judgment, he was out,' Everitt said of Tumpane's call. ``He did a great job. That was a tough game. I'm very proud of him.'
The Rays tied the game in the eighth, but lost on Ramon Santiago's game-ending triple in the 10th.
With one out in the 10th, Victor Martinez singled off Kyle Farnsworth (2-1). Santiago followed with a drive to the gap in right-center. Center fielder B.J. Upton did his best to run the ball down, but Martinez scored before the relay to the plate.
``Victor was the key,' Santiago said of his much slower teammate. ``That was a great at-bat to get on base, and then he scored. I was focused more on his running than mine, because I thought I might have to push him.'
Tampa Bay finished 6-5 on an 11-game road trip. The Rays were in Detroit for only one game - to make up for a May 25 rainout.
Magglio Ordonez returned to the lineup for Detroit after missing 28 games with a right ankle injury, and he made one of the game's biggest plays, throwing out Ruggiano to end a bases-loaded threat.
Tampa Bay tied it in the eighth when reliever Joaquin Benoit allowed one-out singles to pinch-hitter John Jaso, Johnny Damon and Ben Zobrist. Ruggiano's sacrifice fly made it 1-1.
Damon set a Tampa Bay record by reaching base for a 38th consecutive game.
Martinez drove in the game's first run with a fifth-inning single. Phil Coke pitched 6 1-3 innings for the Tigers, allowing four hits and striking out three.
Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb went 5 2-3 innings, allowing a run on eight hits. He walked two and struck out seven.
NOTES: There wasn't a single ball in play in the ninth inning. Detroit's Jose Valverde struck out the first two hitters of the top half before walking Kotchman. Pinch-runner Sam Fuld was thrown out stealing. Tampa Bay's Juan Cruz struck out the side in the bottom half. ... Maddon says he doesn't think Boston OF Carl Crawford should receive a rude reception when Tampa Bay hosts the Red Sox on Tuesday night. Crawford left the Rays to sign a $142 million, seven-year contract with Boston in December. ``This guy worked really hard to put himself in position to earn that kind of money,' Maddon said. ``How could you ever begrudge that? Anybody, in their occupation, given the same set of circumstances or opportunities, would have done the same thing.'
The Associated Press News Service
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