Wild pitch dooms Rays against Rangers

by Gary Shelton on July 18, 2023

in general

Fairbanks' wild pitch led to loss./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

During their fall to earth, the Tampa Bay Rays have lost ugly.

They have lost often, and they have lost awkwardly. They have lost close, and they have lost big. They have lost woefully and they have lost wacky.

Monday night, they lost wild.

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The slumping Rays, 3-8 in their last 11 games, dropped a 3-2 game to Texas when reliever Pete Fairbanks uncorked a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning, allowing pinch-runner Josh Smith to score the walk-off run.

Fairbanks, 0-3 on the season, was one batter away from forcing extra innings. But the bullpen has not fared well for the Rays recently, one of the flaws on a team that is 37-31 since June 1 and just 25-22 on the road.

Rays’ starter Shane McClanahan, pitching after a stint on the injured list, was sharp, allowing just three hits in his six innings. But in the sixth, he gave up a two-strike, two-run homer to No. 8 hitter Ezequiel Duran to tie the game.

The Rays had taken a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Randy Arozarena and a home run by Josh Lowe. But the Rays were hitless in their last five innings.

If there was a saving grace for the Rays, it is that second-place Baltimore also lost, falling 6-4 to the Dodgers.

The Rays play the Rangers again at 8:10 p.m. tonight. Taj Bradley will start for the Rays against Nathan Eovaldi.

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