ST. PETERSBURG — Another night, another Brad Miller homer. But also another loss.
While soon-to-be first baseman Miller homered for a third-straight game, the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Minnesota Twins 6-2 in front of a crowd of 12,161 at Tropicana Field.
“We didn’t capitalize onside opportunities,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We got to put the ball into play with those opportunities.”
Despite a good outing from rookie LHP Blake Snell (5.1 innings, four hits, seven strikeouts, two walks, earned run), it was the Rays bullpen that faltered once again. Erasmo Ramirez allowed a two-run, pinch-hit homer from Eddie Rosario. It was the first time in 11 games the Rays allowed more than three runs. Snell, on the other hand, has given up two or fewer runs in five-straight starts.
“I don’t have an explanation for (Ramirez’s inconsistencies),” Cash said. “He’s been throwing the ball pretty well for us, but those pitches were hit by guys who are very capable of hitting the ball to any part of the ball park.
“I really thought Black threw the ball well,” Cash added. “You’re not going to be at your best all the time. For a young pitcher, he seems to adjust pretty well and finds out which two or three pitches that he features that work for him.”
Miller kept a hot bat going, however, as the lineup had him at DH Friday night. Miller hit his 20th homer of the season in the sixth for a brief lead, and he has homers in five of his last seven games and 15 since June 11.
With the homer, Miller and Evan Longoria become the first pair of Rays teammates to have 20-homer seasons in the same season since 2012 when Melvin Upton, Jr. and Ben Zobrist had 28 and 20 homers, respectively.
“He continues to carry a pretty big offensive load for us,” Cash added on Miller. “We just let the game get away from us.”
The Rays (44-64) and the Twins (44-65) have the two worst records in the American League, but the Twins did keep the Rays from clinching the first winning homestand of the season. The Rays are now 5-3 on the this 10-game homestand.
The Twins prevailed thanks to Rosario, who has been clutch as pinch hitter this season. While he is 2-for-7 for his career, he’s hit homers in both pinch-hit appearances in 2016.
“We don’t have a lot of experience on the bench in general and its tough for young guys to adjust to that role of coming up there when you’re not in the game and trying to put a good swing on the ball,” Twins manager Paul Moliter said. “When I called (Rosario) to hit, he was still in the cage, so I figured he was ready. … He’s coming off a good series in Cleveland, so he stepped up and did a nice job for us.”
“When you’re hitting (as a) pinch hitter,” he said, “you’re thinking its your only opportunity to do good in the game. I try to tie the game, base hit or whatever helps the team.”
The Rays placed LHP Enny Romero on the 15-day disabled list and will recall RHP Danny Farquhar from Triple-A Durham.
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