First, there was the 11-game losing streak. Then, there was the series victory over the Red Sox to snap that losing streak.
Then came the Detroit Tigers and a four-game series at Tropicana Field leading into the 4th of July holiday weekend. It was a series that the Rays went into feeling pretty good after beating the second-place Sox two out of three. But the way it would end come Sunday night was a nightmare all over again.
Tigers 10 Rays 7
One would think taking a five-run lead into the ninth inning would be plenty to assure a victory, right? One would be dead wrong if you were at Tropicana Field on Thursday. The Rays led the Tigers 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth after starter Jake Odorizzi grinded through five innings on 108 pitches and Matt Andriese pitched three innings of masterful, shutout baseball leading to Ryan Garton in the ninth. It would turn into a complete nightmare as Garton wouldn’t record an out and gave up four runs on four hits to make way for Erasmo Ramirez with a slim, one-run lead now and no outs. Erasmo’s struggles would continue as the righty not only blew the save but gave up four more runs of his own and the offense couldn’t come back in the home half of the inning to hand Detroit game one. Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria would each have three hits in the loss and Nick Franklin had a bases-clearing double to drive in three runs, himself.
W: Sanchez (5-8) Ramirez (7-7) S: Rodriguez (22)
Tigers 10 Rays 2
Drew Smyly pitched into the seventh inning but once again the Rays were let down by their relievers as Danny Farquhar and Enny Romero would put the game out of reach for the offense who didn’t help matters, either. It wasn’t until Brad Miller’s 11th home run of the season in the ninth inning that the Rays even cracked the scoreboard. There was even a relief appearance by super utility man – Taylor Motter – who pitched the final out of the ninth inning for the Rays. Detroit’s offensive onslaught was led by two three-run home runs off the bat of Victor Martinez.
W: Fulmer (8-2) L: Smyly (2-9)
Tigers 3 Rays 2
Finally, after 20 runs were dropped on the Rays pitching staff the first two games v the Tigers, a pitching duel! Prized lefty, Blake Snell, would get pulled in the sixth inning with the Rays down just 3-1 and neither team’s bats showing much signs of life all game. The bullpen combo of Ryan Garton, Xavier Cedeno, and Erasmo Ramirez would combine to pitch shutout baseball from the sixth inning on but the Rays offense would struggle for the second night in a row to do much off Tiger’s pitchers.
W: Verlander (8-6) L: Snell (1-3) S: Rodriguez (23)
Tigers 5 Rays 1
Top of the first inning. Chris Archer loads the bases with no outs. Here we go, again, right? Archer came into Sunday’s finale v the Tigers allowing 19 runs in the first inning in his 17 starts. Somehow, some way, he turns around and strikes out the side to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard! Archer would pitch 5.2 innings of shutout baseball and leave w a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning thanks to a Curt Casali, RBI double that scored Nick Franklin all the way from first base in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, the Rays couldn’t bring home another run to support Archer’s outing and, as it usually does, it came back to bite them. In the top of the eighth, the bullpen, once again would falter as Matt Andriese and Xavier Cedeno combined to give up three runs and the lead. Danny Farquhar would continue to struggle, himself, as he allowed a 2-run home run to Ian Kinsler in the top of the ninth inning to push the Detroit lead to 5-1 for good and sweep the Rays in four games.
W: Rondon (2-0) L: Andriese (6-2)
THEY SAID WHAT??:
Manager Kevin Cash, post game:
“Another tough loss. Got away from us there at the end of the ballgame.”
“The decision to be made, putting Cedeno in – that’s probably more on me than anything.”
Starting pitcher, Chris Archer, post game:
“I didn’t really change anything. Just 18 pitches in I was a lot better than I was the first 18 pitches.”
“I don’t beat myself up over it. A day like today, it’s not something I beat myself up over, you have to move forward.”
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim come to town for a three-game series beginning Monday.
7/4 – Tropeano (3-2, 3.25) v Moore (4-5, 4.67)
7/5 – Lincecum (1-2, 6.75) v Odorizzi (3-3, 3.91)
7/6 – Weaver (6-7, 5.51) v Smyly (2-9, 5.33)
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