Rays’ bats lifeless again in loss to A’s

by Gary Shelton on April 27, 2021

in general

Meadows' sacrifice fly drove in the Rays' only run./STEVEN MUNCIE

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

A year ago, the Rays were dreaming about really going somewhere. Like the World Series, perhaps.

This year, they're also dreaming about a grand journey. To home plate.

Recently, that's a far-enough ambition for these Rays.

The Rays lost their second straight game, and their fourth in the last five games, in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Oakland A's. Just like Sunday's 1-0 loss to Toronto, the Rays squandered a nice pitching performance and lost on one key swing of the bat.

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This time, it was a two-run homer by Sean Murphy in the fourth inning. The homer, off loser Rich Hill, came immediately after Hill had walked Matt Chapman. It was one of only three hits Oakland managed for the game.

These days, that's enough to beat the Rays, who have gone hitless in their last 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Tampa Bay got two runners on in both the eighth and the ninth inning, but couldn't get anyone home in either case.

“It's frustrating when it happens anytime," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Certainly when  it happens back-to-back. Our pitching again was outstanding. It gave us every opportunity to win. (Starting pitcher Sean) Manaea was tough. Their bullpen was tough. They always seem to have really tough pitching. They just kept us quiet again.

"We have to find a way for these guys to continue to have good at-bats, stay together and not get too frustrated. We're  still very early. It doesn’t feel good for sure. It’s not one guy, it’s a bunch of them.  We can’t get anything rolling."

Through 4 games this homestand, the Rays have scored nine runs on 22 hits and 11 walks, have struck out 43 times and are batting .171 and .083 with runners in scoring position. The Rays are 0-for-17 with RISP in the last 3 games. Of their six hits on Monday night, half of them came from Randy Arozarena.

It was the best outing of the season for Hill, who went six innings and allowed just two hits. He struck out 10.

"I was really excited to see the way Rich threw the ball." Cash said.

The Rays are now 11-12 on the season and so far have shown themselves to be a streaky team. They will play against Oakland again tonight at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field, where they have lost six of their last seven games.

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