Rays drop the ball, literally, in loss to Baltimore

by Gary Shelton on July 29, 2022

in general

Friday, 4 a.m.

As the ball sailed through the sky, the Tampa Bay Rays still had a chance. Not a great one, not with how their bats were silenced, but a chance.

It was the eighth inning, one out, when Trey Mancini hit a routine fly ball to right field. All the rays had to do was grasp it, and they still had a chance to come back against the Baltimore Orioles.

And Josh Lowe dropped the ball.

Lowe lost the ball in the sky -- his sunglasses were perched on top of his head, offering no protection -- and the ball ticked off his glove and hit him the face, leaving a red welt that should be the symbol of what the Rays have gone through lately.Austin Hayes and Mancini both scored on the play, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead which would hold ulp.

The Rays fell to 2-5 since the All-Star break.

Oh, there were other reasons they lost. The Rays had only four hits and were shut out for the seventh time. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They left 10 men on base. Four times, they had two runners on but failed to score.

But what everyone will remember is the dropped fly, which was scored an inside-the-park-homer by a friendly scorekeeper.

 “It was kind of a tough sky toward the end," Lowe said. "It really hadn’t been like that at all. I guess you could see I didn’t have sunglasses on\

"I don’t think if I had sunglasses on, it would have changed at all. I went back to the spot where I thought the ball was going to be. I saw it when it got to the apex, and when it started to come down I kind of went palms up for a second. I didn’t see the ball on the way down at all. It got me pretty good in the face. It was more embarrassing that anything."

The Rays, who won 100 games a year ago, are now only three games ahead of Baltimore, which lost 110.

“I think Josh would be the first to tell you that it’s a ball that should be caught, it’s an error," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. " I’m not sure if he lost it or just misplayed it a little bit. I think it hit off his head. You feel for JoshI. Obviously, he wants two make the play behind any pitcher out there."

You can argue it wouldn't have made a difference. Home plate seemed a long way from the Rays for most of the day. It was the seventh time they've been shut out this season.

The Rays have struggled against mediocre teams lately and have lost seven of their last nine.

"We have to turn it around pretty quickly," Cash said. "I have a feeling we’re going to be clumped together here for a while but we have to do our part to stay clumped together. 2-5’s not going to get it done."

Ryan Yarbrough started for the Rays and had one of his better outings, allowing four hits and one run through six innings.

The Rays return home to Tropicana Field tonight to play against Cleveland at 7:10 p.m. Jeffrey Springs will start for the Rays against Shane Bieber.

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