Routine ground ball sets up Rays’ defeat

by Gary Shelton on July 28, 2017 · 0 comments

in Baseball, general, Tampa Bay Rays

A ground ball evaded Hechavarria in the ninth inning./STEVE MUNCIE

A ground ball evaded Hechavarria in the ninth inning./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 2 a.m.

After their latest loss, the Tampa Bay Rays will not remember a walk-off home run by the Yankees' Brett Gardner in the 11th inning.

Nor will they remember a leadoff triple by Gardner in the 9th that led to the tying run.

No, this game will forever be remembered for a routine ground ball that snaked between shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and second baseman Tim Beckham that allowed Gardner to tie the game at 5-5. The infielders seemed to defer to each other as the ball bounded through the hole, leading to the 32nd game the Rays have lost after holding a lead.

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Beckham saw a grounder go between Hechavarria and him for the tie./CARMEN MANDATO

Beckham saw a grounder go between Hechavarria and him for the tie./CARMEN MANDATO

“On the play we're all going to talk about, we were in the right positIon,” Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. “It's fair to say there was some miscommunication. Both guys seemed to give up on the ball. They assumed that the other was going to get it.

“We play that positioning all the time. Forty pitches a game against a lot of right-handed hitters. It was that perfect tweener ball that appeared that both guys stopped.”

The Rays were in their shift at the time, with Beckham playing on the left side of the infield. But neither player moved as Gary Sanchez' grounder went between them.

“I guess you can see we're not familiar with playing with each other,” Beckham said. “We knew what to do. It didn't take place. I'm not going to point the finger at all. The play has to be made.”

Hechavarria, through a translater, said that he could have normally dived and made the play. However, he said it's “different playing the shift.”

Colombia gave up a leadoff triple, which led to his blown save.

Colome gave up a leadoff triple, which led to his blown save.

The misplay ruined an excellent opportunity by the Rays, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to go ahead 5-3 on home runs by Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson and a two-run double by Brad Miller.

The Rays got six innings from starting pitcher Chris Archer, who struck out two men with the bases loaded in the sixth. But after that, the Rays went through five relievers.

Newly acquired Dan Jennings gave up two hits and a run without getting anyone out in the eighth. Alex Colome then blew what would have been his 30th save.

He gave up the leadoff triple to Gardner, but then got two outs before the ground ball between Hechavarria and Beckham. It was the fifth blown save of the season for Colome.

The Rays then pitched Andrew Kittredge in the 10th and 11th. Kittredge, a rookie who had never appeared in Yankee Stadium, took the loss.

The Rays, against a stacked part of their schedule, play the Yankees again tonight at 7:05 in Yankee Stadium. Austin Pruitt will start for the Rays against Masahiro Tanaka.

Miller had a pinch-hit two-run double for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Miller had a pinch-hit two-run double for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

 

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