Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/6/12
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It's hard to win with pitching and defense when the defense commits three errors and the starting pitcher allows a game-changing grand slam on an 0-2 fastball.

That was the scenario Tuesday at Yankee Stadium when the Tampa Bay Rays lost 7-0 to the Yankees and fell back into a tie for first place with the Baltimore Orioles.

Shortstop Elliot Johnson's first-inning throwing error led to a pair of unearned runs, and second baseman Ben Zobrist had his first two-error game since 2008 as the Rays ran their season total for errors to 49.

"It's viral right now," manager Joe Maddon said of the infield errors. "It's a virus we have to get rid of. We need some kind of infield antibiotic. I have no explanation. These guys are really good infielders. We're making mistakes that we normally don't make. We have to stop doing that."

The Rays have made six errors in their past three games. What's maddening to Maddon is most are on routine plays. Johnson's throwing error occurred because he threw flat-footed.

"This game is interesting," first baseman Carlos Pena said. "It seems to sometimes go in cycles like that. Not only hitting, but defense, pitching, and our defense hasn't been up to par. Definitely we're capable of playing better defense than this. We know that."

Despite the errors, the Rays were in the game until James Shields surrendered a fourth-inning grand slam to Russell Martin. Shields said he was trying to get Martin to chase a high fastball, but he didn't elevate the pitch.

"If I get it a little higher up there, it's a strikeout," he said.

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