Rays fall back to .500 after another one-run loss

by Gary Shelton on July 22, 2018 · 0 comments

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Ji-Man Choi hit a 460-foot homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Ji-Man Choi hit a 460-foot homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Well, that didn't take long, did it?

Just 10 days earlier, the Tampa Bay Rays had soared to four games over .500, and it seemed they would go into the All-Star break on a hot streak. The pitching was effective, the scoring was good, the defense was dependable.

All together now: Oops.

The Rays fell back to the .500 mark (49-49) in a 3-2 loss to the Marlins. Once again, the Rays lost a one-run game (their 23rd) and a game to the National League (their 11th). The Rays have now lost 17 times when allowing three runs or fewer, the most in the majors.

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Yarbrough took his fifth loss./JEFFREY S. KING

Yarbrough took his fifth loss./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay had just six hits for the night.

"It’s frustrating," said manager Kevin Cash. "I don’t like to say it’s disappointing, because I know the guys’ effort level is there. We aren’t just piecing together any hits. They are frustrated. We’ve been pitched pretty good. I know our offense is better than that. We’re better at putting pressure on pitchers, we just haven’t done that with the exception of the ninth inning last night.”

Gomez ended up playing second base./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez ended up playing second base./CARMEN MANDATO

This time, the Rays fell to pitcher Pablo Lopez, who was making the fourth start of his career. Lopez went six innings and allowed just three hits.

"Their guy pitched good," Cash said. "A lot of inconsistencies to the fastball, which made it good. He cut it, he sank it. I’m not sure if it was by design or what, but you could tell it had a lot of late life through the zone and nobody really seemed to gauge it well except for Joey Wendle’s home run. Young kid that pitched well against us.”

The Rays got home runs from Joey Wendle and Ji-Man Choi, but they struggled to string together multiple hits in an inning. Cameron Maybin of the Marlins had the wining home run in the seventh.

Wendle had two hits, including a home../CARMEN MANDATO

Wendle had two hits, including a home run../CARMEN MANDATO

Adeiny Hechavarria left the game after injuring his oblique muscle. That forced Carlos Gomez in to play second base.

“I feel fine," Hechavarria said. "I felt a little pinch early on and I wanted to be cautious and be safe about it. (It was first felt) in the inning right before they took me out. The last ground ball that I got, I felt a little pinch. That’s when I felt it. I knew I didn’t want to try to swing and I didn’t want to push it from there.”

Hechavarria doesn't think he'll have to go on the disabled list.

“No, I don’t think so. It wasn’t that painful to cause that. We’ll see what happens the next couple of days.”

Rookie Justin Williams made his debut for the Rays.

“It was rushed, honestly," he said. "I was informed at 11 a.m. the flight was at 1:40 p.m. I had to get everything ready. I actually ran to the ballpark. I literally ran to the ballpark. Got everything ready over to the airport. Told my mom and dad and my sister.”

The Rays play the Marlins again today at 1:10 p.m. Chris Archer will pitch against Trevor Richards.

Hechavarria suffered an injury in the seventh./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria suffered an injury in the seventh./CARMEN MANDATO


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