Rays stage comeback, but lose in the end

by Gary Shelton on April 21, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Pham walks off the field after being picked off./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Damn, Pham.

For the second time in two nights, outfielder Tommy Pham was thrown out on the base paths Saturday night, foiling yet another comeback attempt by the Rays against Boston.

The Red Sox beat the Rays, 6-5, after Tampa. Bay fought its way back from a 5-0 deficit to tie. Boston retook the lead in the top of the ninth, but the Rays had runners on first and second in the bottom of the inning. However, Pham was picked off by catcher Christian Vasquez and was tagged out without even diving back to the bag.

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"I messed up, clearly," Pham said. "Theres no need to explain. I didn't come through today. I messed up all around, hitting and on the bases. I’ll make up for it."

On Friday night, Pham was picked off as he broke from second to third prematurely. In both situations, Pham was the potential winning run.

“Yeah, it was frustrating," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "It was a really well executed play on their part. That’s probably the best I can say. They

Diaz tied the game with a homer in the eighth./CHUCK MULLER

made a good play. Tommy’s going to be fine. He’s a big part (of the team). It’s come in bunches for him lately, but we’ll all work that through with him."

There were some other forgettable moments for the Rays.

-- Starting pitcher Charlie Morton gave up a second-inning grand slam to Andrew Benintendi.

-- Closer Jose Alvarado gave up his first run, and took his first loss, late in the game.

-- The Rays had four triples on the night, but only two of the runners scored.

It added up to the team's third straight loss, and ensured that they will lose their first series of the year to a Boston team that hadn't won a series all season.

Rays' Jose Alvarado took the loss./CHUCK MULLER

Morton yielded five runs and it was the first time a Rays starter yielded three runs or more since Blake Snell on Opening Day.

“I think you can make the argument that might have been kind of a reset, maybe one of his better starts," Cash said. "I know he gave up the home run and that inning wasn’t very pretty, but really impressed with the way he got it going for us. He got kind of conservative with his pitches and got deep in the ballgame because it wasn’t headed in that direction, for sure.

"I think that’s where the veteran leadership in Charlie and the guidance and experiences he’s had as a major league pitcher he’s able to lean on

Rays' Morton pitched well after his second inning./CHUCK MULLER

those experiences and make the most of not-the-most ideal situation and he helped us out in a big way.”

The Rays have given up six runs in three straight games.

“It’s frustrating," Kevin Kiermaier said. "You always want to win those tight games. I always tell people there are no moral victories in baseball. With that being said, with us getting down 5-0 early and then clawing our way back – it’s a beautiful thing. The best teams in baseball never give up. We’ve shown that the last two days and unfortunately come out on the losing side of it, but at the same time I appreciate every one of these guys in here for going out and handling their business no matter what the score was. And we gave ourselves the chance to win.

"We came up short again today. That’s baseball sometimes. You have to applaud the effort from our end because in baseball it’s really tough to come back. Especially against a great team like that over there, down early

Ji-Man Choi hustles around third./CHUCK MULLER

like that. It’s kind of deflating there early on, but we kept chipping away and did everything in our power to get back in the game. It’d be nice to win that game, but they had some key at-bats there and came out on the winning side. I’m proud of everyone in this room for never giving up and we need that all year.”

For the Rays, Avasail Garcia and Yandy Diaz hit home runs. In Garcia's last 11 games, he has four home runs and 10 RBI. He's upped his average from .167 to .304.

Diaz' home run in the eighth tied the game. He has five home runs in 84 plate appearances this season, compared to one home in 299 at bats for the Indians the last two seasons.

The Rays play against the Red Sox today to try to avoid a sweep. Tyler Glasnow faces former Ray David Price at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

Meadows had a two-run triple for Rays./CHUCK MULLER





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