The Tampa Bay Rays lost the first game of their 3 game series with the Los Angeles Angels by a final score of 6-5. The loss drops the Rays 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race after the Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 13-2.
Fernando Rodney entered in the 9th inning to protect a 5-4 Rays lead. When protecting a 1-run lead the worst thing a pitcher can do is to put the tying run on base via the walk, especially the leadoff man, but that’s exactly what Rodney did walking Grant Green. Green was forced out at 2nd on a fielders choice off the bat of Peter Bourjos.
Bourjous stole second and moved to third on an error by Desmond Jennings on a soft line drive that allowed J.B. Shuck to reach 2nd base. Eric Aybar singled in both Bourjous and Shuck to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.
Former Rays pitcher Dane De La Rosa came in to work the 9th and Yunel Escbar drew a lead off walk. James Loney just missed on an inside and low pitch and then got a ground ball to first baseman Mark Trumbo who stepped on first and threw down to 2nd to retire Escobar to earn his 2nd save of the season.
Roberto Hernandez started for the Rays and delivered 6 quality innings departing the game with the Rays leading 5-1 with 2-on and nobody out in the 7th inning. Unfortunately, Jake McGee ccame in and allowed both inherited runners to score plus one of his own and suddenly a comfortable 5-1 lead had been cut to 5-4.
The Rays offense once again plugged the bases and once again failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities. Overall they left 12 runners on base and were 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.