Rays collapse in one of their most painful losses

by Gary Shelton on September 21, 2018 · 6 comments

in general

Romo blew his eighth save of the season./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 4 a.m.

Some days, you forget. Some losses, you dismiss. Some disappointments, you swallow.

This one, however, will hurt for a while.

This one, a 9-8 loss to Toronto, could be the one that the Tampa Bay Rays carry with them into the off-season. The Rays blew an 8-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, as Jamie Schultz gave up four runs (in a third of an inning) and Sergio Romo (in a third of an inning) gave up three more.

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Schultz gave up four runs in the ninth./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays had seemingly clinched their sixth straight win earlier, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead. The team then scored five runs in the seventh to take control of the game.

The Rays, zealous all season in their moves to the bullpen, left Schultz in for 32 pitches in the ninth. Romo threw two home run balls in nine pitches.

Pham had three hits for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Rays' manager Kevin Cash said Schultz' problem was "just finishing guys. The strike-throwing was okay.  Ultimately, he couldn't make some pitches to finish guys. He got a two strike count a couple of times and wasn't able to put the batter away."

Romo blew his eighth save of the year, which drops him into a tie with Toronto's Ryan Tepera.

Tampa Bay had a chance to move 20 games above .500. The loss spoiled that, and it left the Rays 6 1/2 games behind Oakland with 10 games to play. The A's beat the Angels 21-3 on Thursday.

"I just fell behind good hitters and couldn't put people away," Schultz said. "I

Duffy had two hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

made some good pitches they fought off, and then gave up the big one. It's tough to let these guys down. They expect you to do your job and I couldn't come through."

The Rays looked as if they had done enough to win with their five-running seventh, especially with a bullpen that has been solid for most of the season. But you could argue that the team lacks a true closer, which should be one of the goals before next year.

For Toronto, Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a two-run shot and Justin Smoak hit the game-winner.

As damaging as the home runs were, the Rays will also be haunted by a bloop

Wendle had another two hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

hit off the bat of Kendrys Morales that fell in front of centerfielder Mallex Smith. If that ball had been caught, the Rays would have won.

"Perfectly placed," Smith said. "We were playing deeper to protect (against)  the double. He hit a popup between us and the infield."

Tampa Bay got three hits from Tommy Pham and two from both Matt Duffy and Joey Wendle. The Rays' quest to have a .300 hitter continues, with Wendle hitting .303, Smith hitting .301 and Duffy hitting .300.

The Rays play the Blue Jays again tonight at 7:07 at the Rodgers Center in Toronto. Tampa Bay's Diego Castillo is scheduled to pitch against Sean Reid-Foley.


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