Phils fall to Rays, 6-4

March 7, 2008 1:30:18 PM PST
Philadelphia starter Adam Eaton failed to overcome back problems and struggled in his second straight outing and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Phillies 6-4 Thursday in a rain-shortened, five-inning game. Akinori Iwamura led off the game with a home run and the Rays scored three times on four hits in the first inning.

Eaton gave up four runs and five hits in two innings. He's now allowed seven runs and 10 hits for a 15.75 ERA after a pair of starts.

Eaton has complained of a balky back this spring, and it acted up again before Thursday's start.

"I would be a little more frustrated if it was due to lack of preparation or something like that," Eaton said. "Obviously, I didn't make good pitches, but at the same time my back did act up a little bit and I didn't get good extension on anything."

Eaton drew the ire of Phillies fans last season when he posted a 6.29 ERA after signing a three-year, $24.5 million deal.

Rays starter James Shields gave up six hits and two runs, both on a homer by Chris Coste, in three innings.

"Today went well, except for one pitch," Shields said. "Some of the hits that they had I thought I made good pitches on them and they just made the adjustment.

"Overall, it went pretty well. That's one of the premier lineups in the whole major leagues. It's good to face guys like that because it gets you ready for the season."

Rays manager Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Shields.

"I think he just got some balls up that he was not trying to get up," he said. "You could see when he was making his pitches down and getting ahead, he was very effective. I'm not concerned with him at all."

Notes: The teams will meet again Friday at Progress Energy Park. To make up for the innings lost on Thursday, the teams will play an extra three innings after their scheduled game. ... Cole Hamels gets the start for the Phillies against Tampa Bay's Jeff Neimann. ... Players' union leader Donald Fehr visited the Phillies on Thursday. He is scheduled to meet with the Rays on Friday.

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