Rays Fall 6-5, Look To Avoid Sweep Tomorrow
The Tampa Bay Rays (31-48) were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-38) by a final score of 6-5. The loss means the Rays will spend their 21st consecutive day with the worst record in baseball.
On the bright side, the Rays bats seemed to wake up in the late innings as they put up four runs in the final two frames.
Chris Archer (4-5, 3.34 ERA) took the loss working seven innings allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits striking out seven and walking two.
The Pirates gave Jeff Locke (1-1, 3.74 ERA) the early 1-0 lead and once again they did it by utilizing aggressive running. Gregory Planco walked to lead off the game and promptly picked up where the Pirates left off against yesterday’s starter Alex Cobb and stole second. Jose Molina‘s throw sailed into centerfield allowing Polanco to move to third. Andrew McCutchen grounded out to second for the second out as Polanco crossed home plate.
The Rays got a break in the bottom of the fifth when Gregor Polanco lost Logan Forsythe fly ball in the Tropicana Field roof resulting in a triple. Forsythe came home to score on a Jose Molina RBI double. It was Molina’s second RBI on the year and first extra-base hit. His last extra-base hit came 131 plate appearances ago on September 23, 2013 against the Orioles Wei-Yin Chen.
The Pirates got the run right back in the top of the sixth inning on a 2-out RBI single by Josh Harrison to score Ike Davis who had seemingly been struck out on two separate pitches during the plate appearance.
Evan Longoria become the first Rays player to reach double digits in home runs belting his 10th homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the Pirates lead to 6-3.
The home run knocked Pirates starter Jeff Locke out of the game. He worked 7.1 innings being charged with three runs (all earned) on eight hits striking out four and walking two.
Juan Carlos Oviedo set the Pirates down in order in the top of the ninth.
Mark Melancon came in to work the bottom of the ninth for the Pirates. Logan Forsythe and Desmond Jennings singled around a loud line drive out by Matt Joyce to bring Ben Zobrist as the tying run to the plate.
Zobrist had been 1 for his last 39 with runners in scoring position and the struggles continued as he flew out to left for the second out of the inning.
Melancon uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners up to second and third with Brandon Guyer at the plate.
Guyer delivered a 2-RBI single to cut the Pirates lead to 6-5 and bring Evan Longoria to the plate. but the rally ended swiftly as Longoria swung at Melancon’s first pitch and flew out to centerfield to end the game as Melancon picked up his 13th save of the season.
With the Rays so far from sniffing the post-season it’s that time to start monitoring individual performances. Tonight Logan Forsythe had three hits. Despite getting help from the Tropicana Field roof for one of the hits Forsythe is one player that can actually complain about bad luck and needing it to even out at some point.
The aggressive style of play may have cost the Pirates a key player for a few games as Starling Marte had to leave the game with concussion like conditions after taking a knee to the head attempting to steal second base.
The Rays will look to avoid the series sweep tomorrow afternoon with first pitch at 12:10. The Rays will send David Price (5-7, 3.81 ERA) to the mound and the Pirates counter with Charlie Morton (4-8, 3.47 ERA).