Rough times return for Rays’ reliever Austin Pruitt

by Gary Shelton on May 4, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays, University of Florida

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Pruitt had a good streak going, but gave up seven straight hits./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

The efficient streak of relief performances by the Rays' Austin Pruitt came to a crashing end Thursday night.

The Rays, finally at home after eight straight games on the road, held a two-run lead going into the sixth inning Wednesday night when Pruitt gave up seven straight hits. The Marlins scored five runs in the inning and went on to a 10-6 win. The Marlins added three in the eighth.

The Rays have now held a lead in 16 of their last 17 games. The Rays are only 8-9 in those games.

Miami's Marcell Ozuna hit a mammoth home run, measured at 467 feet. It went into the Rays' banners in left field.

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“It started out good,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “Good ballgame early on and then it just kind of got away from us. Blake did some good things again. The strike-outs were up. Really happy to see that. I know that he threw a better strike-to-ball ratio, which

Kevin Kiermaier snapped a 0-for-19 streak./STEVEN MUNCIE

Kevin Kiermaier snapped a 0-for-19 streak./STEVEN MUNCIE

helped and lessened the walks. He just continues the 3-ball counts, the foul balls, driving the pitch count up, but I like the fact that he was able to get a huge couple outs there in the fifth inning to keep us with the lead at that point.

“After that, our bullpen has done some good things as of late. It just kind of got away from us a little bit. I had warmed up Austin a time or two yesterday and he probably didn’t look quite as crisp as we’ve seen out of him so we had some guys who were down today, obviously.”

Blake Snell went five innings and struck out nine. He allowed only two earned runs. He struck out Justin Bour with the bases loaded in the fifth.

“I’m happy with (his outing).” Snell said. “The way I attacked the zone and threw more strikes. Just getting better. I’m happy about it, but still a lot of work to be done. I was more excited about that, that he trusted me enough with bases loaded to go up against Bour, who is a really good hitter. Definitely that’s something I was really happy about.”

Said Cash: “He should feel pretty good right now. I know Blake holds himself to pretty high standards and he’s not accepting. He wants to pitch deeper than five innings, obviously, but he should feel pretty good about the way he competed and the big pitches he had to make to get through that inning, he did. Speaking of the walk, the one walk was to Ozuna who at that time in the game, you probably don’t care too much that he walks him. You’d rather have the matchup with Bour, he got it and got a big punch-out.”

Pruitt had a rough start to the season, giving up runs in his first six appearances. However, he was 3-0 in his last five outings. In his last four appearances, he gave up only five hits and struck out 11.

The Rays took a 3-0 lead early, including a two-run single by Kevin Kiermaier, who had been in a 0-for-19 slump.

The Rays conclude their four-game set against the Marlins tonight. Matt Andriese goes against the Marlins' Dan Straily.

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