Rays Fall Flat In Series Finale, Lose 5-3

In front of a Fathers Day crowd of 27,442 the Rays fell to the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 5-2. In losing 3 out of 4 games to the Royals the Rays record drops to 36-33 on the year.  The Rays will have an off-day tomorrow as they try to regroup after a 4-6 home stand before travelling to Boston for a 3-game series beginning with a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. The Royals victory improves their record to 33-34 and they head to Cleveland for a 3-game series with the Indians.

The best news of the afternoon was that Alex Cobb had been released from the hospital and returned home.  When asked how long Cobb may be out Joe Maddon said he has no idea. I’m not even worried about that right now. The biggest thing is to just follow the instructions of the doctors, make sure that he gets his rest, and eventually we’ll find out how long it’s going to take.”

Alex Cobb tweeted out thanks to the fans last night and updated his status this morning:

Roberto Hernandez (4-7, 5.02 ERA) took the loss working 5.2 innings and allowed 4R/ER on 9 hits striking out 2 and walking 1. Jake McGee (0.1 innings), Josh Lueke (1.0 inning), Cesar Ramos (1.0 inning), and Kyle Farnsworth (1.0) combined to deliver 3.1 innings allowing 1R/ER on 2 hits striking out 2 and walking 1.

Hernandez’s afternoon came to an end in the 6th inning when  he was unable to escape a 2-out rally by the Royals. He retired David Lough on a line out to shortstop and Mike Moustakas on a ground out to shortstop but gave up a 2-out double to Elliot Johnson. With Jeff Francoeur due up and first base open the decision was made to walk Francoeur and allow Hernandez to go after Alcides Escobar. The move backfired as Escobar laced a single up the middle scoring Johnson and ending Hernandez’s game. To make matters worse Jake McGee allowed Francoeur to score on a single to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.

About the intentional walk: Joe Maddon said he liked the match up with Hernandez and Escobar better than with Francouer. He sited the fact that Francouer had hit Hernandez hard in his career (4 for 11 with a homer) and Escobar had struggled (1 for 8).  Maddon called it “the absolutely perfect match up that didn’t work out.”

The Rays offense was held in check for most of the afternoon scoring 2 runs in the 1st and a single tally in the 9th but were able to bring  the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning but Greg Holland struck out Ben Zobrist to end the game.

After being traded to the Royals in the winter Wade Davis (4-5, 5.18 ERA) made his return  to Tropicana Field and made it count in picking up the victory. He worked the first 6 innings allowing 2R/ER on 5 hits striking out 4 and walking 2. The afternoon got off to a bumpy start as he needed 35 pitches to escape a 1st inning jam but then settled down to keep the Rays off the board allowing only 2 hits through the next 5 innings.

The Royals bullpen took over and held the Rays to 1-run over for the final three innings. Greg Holland worked the 9th inning for the Royals and allowed 1R but picked up his 14th save on the year.  In the month of June the Royals bullpen is 5-2 with 6 saves in as many opportunities and has an 0.95 ERA ( 4 earned runs in 38 innings of work).

The Rays had to play from behind as the Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single off the bat of Billy Butler to drive in Eric Hosmer form third.

The Rays came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 1st on a RBI double by Luke Scot and a 2-out Desmond Jennings RBI single.

Jeff Francoeur homered in the top of the 5th to tie the game at 2-2.

The Royals took a lead on a 2-out RBI single by Alcides Escobar scoring Elliot Johnson who had narrowly missed a home run to lead off the inning.  Left hander Jake McGee came in to face the left handed hitting Alex Gordon who lined a single to right to score Francoeur to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.

The Royals added an insurance run in the 8th inning on a sacrifice fly by Alex Gordon scored Alcides Escobar who had doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch.

The Rays cut the lead to 5-3 in the 9th inning on solo home run by Jose Lobaton his 4th home run of the year.

The Rays will play a day-night doubleheader Tuesday in Fenway Park. The first game begins at 1:05 p.m. and the second game at 7:05 p.m. The Rays pitching rotation has not been determined but  Chris Archer (1-2, 4.80 ERA) will start one of the games and the Rays will most likely add Alex Colome (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the roster to pitch the other. The Red Sox will counter with Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.91) and Alfredo Aceves (3-1, 5.58 ERA).

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.