ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in a rare slide at home.
Alexei Ramirez drove in two runs and the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games with a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Luke Scott and Carlos Pena homered for the Rays, who have lost nine of their last 13 home games and were swept in a three-game series by Chicago.
``We're not really playing a high level of baseball right now,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ``Too many mistakes on the field.'
Even with the slow stretch, Tampa Bay, with nine players on the disabled list, is 17-10 at Tropicana Field.
``Regardless if we're missing people or not, we expect more from ourselves,' Maddon said. ``We don't make excuses.'
Dayan Viciedo had a run-scoring single and Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to help Chicago take a 3-1 lead in the third. Ramirez made it 4-1 with an RBI double in the fifth.
White Sox starter Jose Quintana was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner with two outs in the fourth when he threw a pitch behind Ben Zobrist at knee level.
``I saw the ball go about two feet behind me,' Zobrist said. ``I was not expecting it, and I'm not sure exactly why it happened, but I'm guessing it had something to with A.J. (Pierzynski) getting hit earlier in the game.'
Quintana, through a translator, said he was not throwing at Zobrist.
``I was going to throw a fastball, but A.J. asked him for a changeup and instead of crossing him over, I went through and it just slipped away,' Quintana said.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura was also tossed by Wegner for arguing Quintana's ejection.
``I've never seen anything like that,' Ventura said. ``I don't know how to explain it. I was shocked. Usually if the guy feels it (had) intent, he gives warning and it goes from there, but it just shocked me.'
Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb (2-1) hit a pair of White Sox batters - Gordon Beckham during the first and Pierzynski in the third - during the game. Pierzynski was hit with a man on second and one out.
``I was just trying to get a fastball in, and yanked it a little bit,' Cobb said of the pitch that struck Pierzynski.
Pierzynski had made what Maddon called an awkward slide involving Zobrist in Tuesday night's game.
``When a pitcher throws behind somebody like that, it's pretty obvious what their intent was regardless of the denials on the other side,' Maddon said. ``I thought the home plate umpire did a great job, actually. That really stopped everything in its tracks.'
Addison Reed worked out of trouble in the ninth for his sixth save. Pena drew a leadoff walk, with pinch runner Rich Thompson advancing to second on Matt Joyce's one-out single. Zobrist and Scott then both popped out to shallow left.
Pena hit a two-run homer off Nate Jones (3-0) in the sixth.
Alex Rios hit a first-inning RBI single. Tampa Bay tied it at 1 on Scott's opposite-field homer to left in the second.
Cobb worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. After Alejandro De Aza hit a grounder and Beckham struck out, Adam Dunn hit a fly to center that B.J. Upton caught on the warning track.
Quintana allowed one run and one hit in 3 2-3 innings. Cobb gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings.
De Aza left in the sixth when he was hit near the right knee by the ball while diving back to second on J.P. Howell's pick off attempt.
NOTES: Tampa Bay DH-LF Hideki Matsui was out of the lineup one day after homering in his Rays' debut. He entered in the sixth and went 0 for 2. ... Matsui will earn $615,519 from his contract with the Rays if he stays on the 40-man roster for the rest of the season. Matsui was put on the 40-man roster Tuesday, meaning he will earn 128 days of major league pay from the 183-day season. His contract lists an $880,000 salary while in the majors and a $250,000 salary while in the minors. ... Tampa Bay OF Desmond Jennings (sprained left knee) is scheduled to start playing in minor league rehab games Thursday. Maddon said Jennings could rejoin the Rays early next week.
The Associated Press News Service
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