news 3 days ago

Rays fall out of first with 6-2 loss to A's

Tampa Bay Times — By Matt Baker Tampa Bay Times

June 12-- ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-After the Rays battled back to tie Oakland in the seventh inning, Wednesday afternoon's game came down to execution in the eighth.

Oakland got the hit it needed. The Rays didn't.

That was the difference in Tampa Bay's 6-2 loss, which gave Oakland the series and dropped the Rays (41-26) out of a tie for first place with the Yankees in the AL East.

Ramon Laureano's game-winning grand slam also spoiled another fine start from Yonny Chirinos, who followed eight shutout innings at Boston with seven solid innings against the A's (35-34).

"Just another strong outing that gave us a chance to stay in the ballgame and have a chance to win it," manager Kevin Cash said of Chirinos. "We just came up short with the bats."

They came up short early and often, finishing 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 runners on base.

They came up short in the first when they got nothing off of two leadoff singles. And in the third, in part because Yandy Diaz was thrown out trying to steal third with leading hitter Austin Meadows at bat.

And in the fourth, when they stranded two more.

As the Rays kept leaving batters on base, Chirinos did his job to keep the game from getting out of hand. He allowed only two runs-one on a solo home run by Matt Olson. He pitched himself out of jams and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.

"Yonny did his job for sure," Cash said.

Eventually, the Rays' offense did, too. For one inning, at least.

Hernando High product Christian Arroyo blooped a single past a sliding Laureano to jumpstart things in the seventh. Then Diaz blasted an RBI double to center as part of his 3-for-5 day. Avisail Garcia singled in another run to tie the game, in front of an announced crowd of 17,946.

But even that rally could have been better. Travis d'Arnaud struck out with the bases loaded.

Oakland didn't make that mistake the next inning by succeeding off a trio of Rays relievers. Adam Kolarek gave up a single to the only batter he faced (Olson). Then Chaz Roe followed by giving up a walk.

"That's kind of been my kryptonite all year, is the walks," Roe said.

Things continued to unravel after that. Roe threw a wild pitch, then intentionally walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases with one out.

Cash ditched Roe for Colin Poche, who made his major league debut Saturday but had better odds of getting a pivotal strikeout.

"Putting a young pitcher in that position is not ideal," Cash said.

Poche didn't see it that way, even if it was only his third big-league appearance.

"Obviously as a reliever, those kind of situations are something you're going to come into," Poche said. "You have to find a way to have success in them."

This time, Poche didn't.

He got Laureano to swing at two elevated fastballs and kept trying for more. Laureano deposited the last one to left-center field for his first career grand slam.

"Just didn't get it up enough," Poche said. "He was able to put a good swing on it."

The Rays didn't do enough of that in their half of the inning.

The frame started promising with Willy Adames' lead-off single, but a double play ruined that. Back-to-back singles by Guillermo Heredia and Arroyo kept hope alive, but Diaz struck out looking at a 99-mph fastball to end that threat and the Rays' hopes of winning the series.

___

(c)2019 Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at www.tampabay.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.