Rays streak ends despite Hill, Kiermaier

by Gary Shelton on May 26, 2021

in general

Kiermaier was impressive in the field./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

And the king of the hill remains ... Lou Piniella.

As impressive as the 11-game winning streak was that died Tuesday night, Piniella's 2004 Rays did it one better. And, you can argue, they didn't have nearly as much going on (the Rays won 70 games all year).

The Rays lost their first game since May 12, falling 2-1 to the Kansas City Royals.

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Tampa Bay had plenty of pitching against the Royals (Rich Hill struck out 13 in eight innings). They had enough defense (Kevin Kiermaier made two highlight-reel catches). But the Rays, who have been on an offensive tear, couldn't hit. They managed just four hits for the evening and scored only once.

"We couldn’t get anything going," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "Give credit to (Brad) Keller.  He did a nice job. (Jake) Bremtz came in and did a nice job and (Kyle) Zimmer there at the end. They pieced it together well. You understand why the offense was limited a little bit. They just pitched really well."

Hill pitched well for the Rays, but gave up a home run to Carlos Santana and a run-scoring single to Salvador Perez.

“He really had it going.," Cash said. "His strike-throwing was off the charts. Him and Keller were going toe to toe, just attacking the strike zone. Rich had a pretty electric fastball. He established pitches early on. I think it opened up some avenues for him to get creative with the breaking ball and the different deliveries we saw tonight. I wish he would have got the win. He pitched well enough to deserve it.

“He probably had his best fastball tonight."

Hill was aided by two impressive catches by Kiermaier, the first in which he ranged to his right and cut behind left fielder Austin Meadows to make the catch. In the second, he ran and leapt into the wall to make a catch.

"I love making plays for our pitchers out there," Kiermaier said. "Gets some oohs and aahs from crowd.  When that ball goes up, my eyes light up. "

Kiermaier was effusive in praising the job done by Hill.

"That was just incredible by him," Kiermaier said. "I heard a couple of references today. Oldest? He’s just been on the planet longer than anyone in the big leagues. There’s nothing old about what he’s doing."

In the end, however, Hill's effort was squandered.

"Those are two unbelievable hitters.," Hill said of Santana and Perez. "I have to make better pitches in those situations.  This isn’t just to come out here and have a fun day at the park. It’s to win ballgames."

The Rays will attempt to start another winning streak tonight at Tropicana Field at 7:10 p.m.. Tyler Glasnow will pitch for the Rays against Mike Minor of the Royals.

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