Rays can’t contain Donaldson, Smoak in latest loss

by Gary Shelton on August 18, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Archer passed the 1,000-strikeout barrier./JEFFREY S. KING

Archer passed the 1,000-strikeout barrier./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 3 a.m.

If the Tampa Bay Rays miss the playoffs — a possibility that seems to be more and more likely — the list of people to blame starts with the guy in Toronto.

Josh Donaldson, it seems, is the guy to blame. With a supporting nod to Justin Smoak.

Donaldson hit two home runs Thursday night, and Smoak hit a two-run homer in the eighth, as the Blue Jays won their third game of the four-game series by a score of 5-3. The Rays fell to three games under .500, tied with their worst record of the season.

Longoria tied the game with a double in the eighth./CARMEN MANDATO

Longoria tied the game with a double in the eighth./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays again left victory on base, stranding 14 runners and going three of 14 with runners in scoring position. Tampa Bay is 3-10 in its last 13, and is eight-for-76 with runners in scoring position over its losing streak, a .105 batting average.

“We're finding ways to lose tough ballgames,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “They're frustrated. We're all frustrated. We've got to win games.”

Tommy Hunter gave up the winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Tommy Hunter gave up the winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Donaldson made sure that didn't happen Friday. For the series, he hit .615 (eight of 13) with four homers and seven RBI.

The Rays are tailspinning out of control. The Rays are now three games behind the Angels for the second (and last) wild card spot, with four teams between them and Anaheim.

“It's going to be frustrating until we figure out how to put some offense together,” Longoria said.  "You can see it in the dugout. You can see it in the clubhouse. There's not really a way you can loosen it up.

"If we could put our finger on it, we would do it and get out of it. We haven't gotten big hits. We have some veteran hitters. There's no excuse for it. We should get a couple of runs. We're not talking about a hit every time.”

Tampa Bay, down 3-1 at one point, tied the game in the eighth inning when Evan Longoria doubled off the wall to score Peter Bourjos. But the Rays would leave the bases loaded in the inning, a common sight in recent days.

Hechavarria had two hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria had two hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays seemed to have a huge advantage in their starting pitching, with Chris Archer pitching against Chris Rowley, who was making his second start. But Rowley worked his way out of trouble in his five innings. Archer became the third Rays' pitcher to post 1,000 strikeouts, and he went seven innings and allowed three earned runs.

"We have to start winning or else September is not going to be as fun as it could be," Archer said.

Reliever Tommy Hunter gave up the winning runs on the homer by Smoak.

The Rays return home tonight to face Seattle. Austin Pruitt starts for the Rays against former teammate Erasmo Ramirez in a game that starts at 7:10 p.m.

Morrison left three runners in scoring positIon./CARMEN MANDATO

Morrison left three runners in scoring positIon./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

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