The Rays entered June on a six-game winning streak that gave them the American League's best record in May. They were looking to claim a series victory over the Indians, extend a three-game stretch without allowing an earned run and keep up the prolific offense that's paced the Majors since mid-April.
But more than anything, after Friday night's series finale stretched on until 3 a.m. Saturday morning, they were tired.
So, after the Tribe's 5-0 victory Saturday afternoon, Tampa Bay and Cleveland will return to Progressive Field on Sunday to wrap up their three-game series with Jeremy Hellickson and Zach McAllister on the mound. While their winning and earned-run streaks may have ended Saturday, the Rays can still push their record since last Sunday to 7-1 and head into a much-needed off-day on a high note.
"Our guys were legitimately tired today, and I don't blame them. I really respected their effort today. It's a tough day to come back and play this game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. "We'll get a good night's sleep and come back tomorrow."
The Rays can use Monday's off-day to rest and reorganize their starting rotation and bullpen, but they'd obviously prefer if Hellickson could pitch deep into Sunday's game and keep the overworked relief corps in the 'pen.
After pitching eight strong innings on May 22, Hellickson faltered against the Marlins on Tuesday, pitching only 5 1/3 innings as he allowed five runs on seven hits. His ERA climbed to an uncharacteristically high 5.61 on the year, and his struggles have been particularly magnified given the number of times he's surrendered leads.
"Not crisp at all," Maddon said after Hellickson's start against Miami. "There's more in there -- just disjointed, just not sharp with anything. Nothing was really normal for him. He's coming off some really good outings. Today just was off."
McAllister, meanwhile, has been remarkably consistent all year. He hasn't given up more than three earned runs, and he's pitched at least five innings in each of his 10 starts. He got touched up quite a bit Tuesday against the Tigers, giving up 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he managed to limit the damage to just three earned runs.
"It was a battle for him," Indians manager Terry Francona Tuesday. "He was struggling with his fastball command and he pitched behind in the count more than he has. The first inning was a tough inning. ... After that, [McAllister] dodged traffic for every inning it seemed like. But he never gave in, and he competed his [butt] off and gave us a chance."
McAllister faced the Rays on April 5 and allowed a season-high four runs (only two earned) over six innings in a loss.
Rays: Torres saves 'pen
• Recalled after Friday night's marathon rain delay bled into Saturday morning, left-hander Alex Torres pitched four outstanding innings Saturday afternoon against the Indians to keep the rest of Tampa Bay's bullpen as fresh as possible heading into Sunday's series finale.
Torres has worked 8 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and three walks with nine strikeouts. But he could once again be headed to Triple-A Durham on Sunday, if the Rays need another fresh arm to bolster their bullpen.
• Right-hander Josh Lueke was on the other end of the Durham shuttle following Friday's game, sent back to Triple-A after tossing two scoreless innings as four Rays pitchers combined for a one-hitter in the rain-delayed series opener. Lueke posted a 3.72 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings over nine appearances.
Indians: Langwell called up
• The Indians needed a bit of bullpen help as well after Friday's early morning finish, so they called up Matt Langwell from Triple-A Columbus before Saturday's game. They didn't need him, as it turned out, because Ubaldo Jimenez pitched eight innings and Vinnie Pestano finished the job. But Langwell was no less enthused to take a spot on the Major League roster.
"It's great. I was really excited," said Langwell, who's 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA over 20 appearances for the Clippers this season, but has yet to pitch in a Major League game. "I'm just really looking forward to getting out there and getting an inning under my belt."
Langwell took the spot of lefty Scott Barnes, who gave up five runs in one inning during the Tribe's 9-2 loss to the Rays.
• Indians president Mark Shapiro apologized to the fans who attended Friday night's game, saying they should keep their ticket stubs as the club looks for a way to make up for what happened. Cleveland issued a statement thanking its fans for their "loyalty, patience and perseverance" on an unusual night at the ballpark.
• Cleveland dealt Tampa Bay its third shutout loss of the year and its first since April 14. The Indians also shut out the Rays, 13-0, on April 7.
• The Rays are 8-3 over their last 11 road games after starting the season 5-12 away from Tropicana Field.