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Rays give up back-to-back homers in ninth to lose to Astros

For a last-place team, most nights end in disappointment.

Still, there are the routine losses, and the wipeouts. There are boring losses. There are losses by the rotation and the batting order.

Then, there are games like this, where the defeat reminds you of the standings.

The Tampa Bay Rays dropped a 5-4 game to the Houston Astros Friday night as closer Alex Colome, the team’s all-star this year, gave up back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis. The Astros entered the ninth with only four hits for the game.

The Rays had rallied from a 3-0 deficit as Corey Dickerson scored twice and knocked in a third run. Outfielder Mikie Mahtook, in the top of the ninth, hit a home run to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.

For the Rays, Drew Smyly went six innings, giving up only two unearned runs (and three overall). Dickerson had three hits and Logan Morrison and Mahtook each had two.

The Rays play Houston again today with Blake Snell pitching against Dallas Keuchel.

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Rays beat Red Sox as Mikie Mahtook snaps a long hitting slump

As they compete for the AL East pennant, the Boston Red Sox are probably asking themselves one question this morning.

Mikie Mahtook?

Really?

The Red Sox lost their second straight game to the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday night, dropping a 2-1 decision as Mahtook knocked in Steven Souza with the winning run. Mahtook had been mired in 0-for-34 slump, and the hit left his average at only .138. Only three other Rays have ever had longer hitless streaks (Luke Scott’s 0-for-41 is the record).

“You go in every day expecting to get hits and expecting to do well. Day after day, it just kind of gets on you. Finally, to break through like that, was nice,” Mahtook said. “It was a relief, but it was more of me feeling good about all the work that I put in leading up to it to finally see the results. It’s nice that I don’t have to have that record (Scott’s) on the books.”

The Rays won because Jake Odorizzi threw seven innings and allowed only one earned run to improve his record to 9-5. Matt Duffy had two hits. And Enny Romero recorded his first save of the year by striking out David Ortiz for the last out. The bullpen ended this series with 11 innings of scoreless baseball.

“Great win,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “Man, we needed a lot of things to come together for us to get that win, and it seemed like they all did today. Outstanding. Offensively, Drew Pomeranz was tough. First time a lot of our guys had seen him. He had really good carry to the fastball, his curveball was breaking really sharp today. You could tell we just weren’t able to make some adjustments. He made it difficult for us. But the little adjustments we did make counted quite a bit. Brad Miller’s big hit through the shift to score Longo [in the 6th], and Mikie Mahtook’s overall tremendous day. He needed that for him. He’s been struggling and it’s nice to see a player that comes in and directly contributes to a big team victory like he did today.”

Odorizzi has allowed one run or fewer in five of his eight starts since the All-Star break. He’s 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA since the break. Still, he praised the team’s bullpen for his latest success.

“It’s been incredible,” Odorizzi said. “A lot of guys have been asked to go back-to-back with 20 pitches one outing, then have to go the next day. So it really shows how deep we are that those guys are able to answer the bell every single time. They’ve held down a great offense the last couple games.”

The Rays are in Houston today, where Drew Smyly will face Mike Fiers.

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Rays capture a rare walk-off victory by beating Boston in 11

Say this for the Tampa Bay Rays. They still know how to celebrate.

Look at them frolic. Look at Logan Morrison on the back of hero Luke Maile. Look at the team bound around home plate. Look at the Rays celebrate their third walkoff victory of the year, a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays are now 4-57 in games in which they have trailed after seven innings.

It was the bottom of the 11th inning, two out, when Maile doubled to right field. After Logan Forsythe walked, Kevin Kiermaier hit a grounder to first, but when Heath Hembree covered first, he dropped the ball. He turned and threw to the plate to try to cut down Maile, but catcher Sandy Leon couldn’t hold onto the ball.

“Very odd play, unique play,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said.”I didn’t envision Maile taking an extra 90 feet on a ball that didn’t get out of the infield, but I’m glad he did.”

For the Rays, there were several bright spots. For the second straight night, the bullpen threw shutout baseball against Boston (nine innings). Pitcher Matt Andriese threw six innings. And Evan Longoria hit his 30th home run of the year to tie the game at 3-3 after Boston took a 3-0 lead.

Cash said it was nice to see Longoria’s success.

“It’s been exciting to watch,” Cash said. “It’s nice to see Longo have the success. He’s carried us in so many ways this year, offensively, defensively. There were a lot of people saying last year or early this year, questioning where has he gone? I think he’s answered a lot of those questions with the season he’s put together this year.”

Maile was elated by scoring the winning run.

“The main thing I was trying to do was get good secondary leads. Once I got to second base, I knew that I’m not the fastest guy on the field, so I wanted to get an advantage and get off the bag as much as I could,” Maile said. “As soon as I saw the ball go into the ground, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to beat it unless it got kicked around a little bit. But I just tried to run hard, pick up the ball, and as soon as I touched third, instincts just take over after that. That was awesome. It’s even more fun than it looks like on TV.”

Said Kiermaier: “I tried getting down the line as quick as possible and hoped for the best, and thankfully, he didn’t come up with it clean and it kicked away from him. And Luke did a great job busting his butt down the line and sliding into home. It was such a moment of relief.”

The Rays play the Red Sox in a day game today when Jake Odorizzi pitches against Drew Pomeranz.

 

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Rays’ Chris Archer falls to 7-17 in latest Tampa Bay defeat

Chris Archer keeps finding new and interesting ways to lose baseball games.

Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, lost for the 17th time this season (7-17) in a 2-1 decision against the Boston Red Sox. He lasted five innings and gave up only one earned run.

For the Rays, this time, the game boiled down to two plays at third base. In the third inning, Steven Souza‘s attempt to throw out David Ortiz skipped by the bag, allowing a run to score. In the eighth, right fielder Mookie Betts cut down Kevin Kiermaier as he tried to stretch a double into a triple.

Archer threw first-pitch strikes to only eight of 21 batters. He needed 109 pitches to get through five innings. Archer is now one loss away from tying Tanyon Sturtze‘s team record of 18 losses.

Archer started the season considered the Rays’ ace after making the All-Star Game last year. He was fifth in the Cy Young voting and second in the league in strikeouts.

This year, he has a shot at leading the league in strikeouts and could reach 200 innings.

The Rays got two hits each from Corey Dickerson and Kiermaier.

Tonight, Tampa Bay sends Matt Andriese to the mound against Rick Porcello.

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Boston’s David Price shuts down former Rays’ teammates

For much of the year, fans have debated whether David Price of the Boston Red Sox was the worth his paycheck.

After Tuesday night, they may give him a raise.

Price tamed his former Tampa Bay Rays teammates, throwing eight innings of two-hit, shutout baseball. It was Price’s second straight win over the Rays, and stretched his scoreless streak to 19 1/3 innings. Price didn’t allow a runner to reach second base and pitched to three batters over the limit.

“We fell behind early,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Blake just struggled to find the zone and it drove his pitch count up. He did some good things getting ahead of some hitters, but it seemed like there were too many bullets wasted, driving the pitch count up and leading to too many walks. When you walk this team eight times, you’re going to make it difficult to win a ballgame because they’re so deep offensively. I thought the bullpen came in and did a really nice job behind him.

“Offensively, a pretty quiet night there until the end. Price had good stuff. We probably got some pitches to hit that we just missed. It was a really strong start by Price.

The Rays didn’t score until the ninth, when Evan Longoria hit his 29th home run of the year. The Rays had only four hits for the game.

“I felt good, for sure,” Price said. “I made some good pitches. That’s a tough team for me to pitch against, it doesn’t matter if it’s here or on the road. It’s just stuff. So it was good.”

The Rays might have had two more runs, but left-fielder Andrew Benintendi went over the left field fence and brought back Steven Souza’s home run.

“Pretty stunned,” Souza said. “That was an unbelievable play. He ran a long way, was at full speed and then to go over and hold onto the ball was pretty impressive.”

Said Benintendi: “I thought my first step was good. I knew I was probably going to have to jump at some point and chose the right time. … Yeah, I think so. It was something I was working on it batting practice. I saw the wall out of the corner of my eye, and timed up the jump well.”

The teams play again tonight when Chris Archer pitches against Clay Buchholz.

 

 

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Rays knocks off powerful Texas as Drew Smiley pitches well

For the Tampa Bay Rays, the streaks are all good these days.

The team won its sixth game in seven outings Sunday. In five of the six games, they’ve scored at least eight runs. In all, they’ve outscored opponents 55-18 in those wins.

Not only that, but they’ve now won two in a row against a first-place team. The Rays beat the Texas Rangers again Sunday, 8-4.

“Great series, man,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “From the way it started to the way it finished, that was an outstanding effort by our guys. We pitched well, made some big pitches, they put some pressure on us later in the ballgame. I thought Drew was good. He left a cutter that came back middle-in, but other than that he was really good against a very difficult, challenging lineup. Good for him to continue pitching like he has been as of late. Offensively, Souza had a big day. Really liked some of the little things that we did. I know Logan Forsythe had a three-run homer, but Beck getting a bunt down, Bobby Wilson getting a bunt down, things like that helped us win a ballgame today.”

Fosythe’s homer was his third straight game in which he’s homered. Steven Souza added a two-run shot, his second home run in nine at-bats. That comes after Souza had one home run in his previous 158 at-bats.

Corey Dickerson kept his six-game hitting streak alive on the heels of an 0-for-17 streak.

“It shows the talent that we have and the kind of baseball we’ve been playing as of late, all around, from the pitching, bullpen, defense, offense,” said Forsythe. “I think we’re getting big hits, having more quality at-bats with guys in scoring position. That’s a great ball club over there, and to be able to take two of three and win a series here—we want to continue it. And see how we end up.”

Drew Smyly won again for the Rays. He’s 4-0 in his last six starts.

“We’re very capable of winning,” Smyly said. “Texas is a first-place team, they’ve been in first place all year. That’s a really good lineup, they have great pitching and we beat them two out of three. It’s just consistency, I think, we got in a really bad slump there in the first half but I think our pitching is really coming around the second half of the season and our lineup is very capable of doing damage like they did today. When you have those two things, you’re going to win games.”

Today, rookie Blake Snell pitches against former Ray David Price.

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Rays’ Jake Odorizzi dazzles against Rangers in big victory

Suddenly, it’s a Jake Odorizzi world.

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Rays have a chance when he’s on the mound.

In seven starts since the all-star game, Odorizzi has improved his record to 5-0 with an AL-leadng ERA of 1.64. He has improved his record to 8-5.

The Rays followed Odorizzi to their fifth win in their last six games Saturday night, an 8-2 blasting of the Texas Rangers. The Rays have outscored their opponents 47-14 during those six games.

“Odo was outstanding,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “It was a tight game for a while, and Odo pitched really well to keep it right there.”

Odorizzi said he had to reach deep for his latest win.

“A little bit of everything (was working),” Odorizzi said. “I can’t really pinpoint one thing that was working, I just had to battle, feel the situation out. They did a great job of fighting off some pitches, so I was just going with whatever we felt in the moment.”

On escaping the first-and-third situation in the 3rd inning: “I was just trying to get some soft contact on the infield and get a double play there and concede the one run. But we were able to work out of it after I got the strikeout of (Ian) Desmond, I was trying to get the ball in on (Carlos) Beltran and I got the weak pop-up … and find a way out of it.”

Tim Beckham had two triples for the Rays, and Luke Maile hit his first home run. Evan Longoria hit his 28th of the year.

“I’ve been trying to do too much lately and I just wanted to see strikes, swing at balls in the zone and put the barrel on the ball,” Beckham said. “Something I bring to the club is my speed when I hit the ball in the gap. If it hits the wall, I expect to be on (third) until they stop me.”

Said Cash: “He was pretty electric tonight. It looked like he hit two balls right in the same spot, and got triples for both of them. Good at-bats. He just missed another ball that he flew out really high. So his timing is coming around, it seems like.”

The Rays try to win the series today when Drew Smyly faces Martin Perez.

 

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Adrian Beltre hits two homers as Rangers beat Tampa Bay

In the area of things that don’t surprise you, good teams give the Tampa Bay Rays, last in the AL East, fits.

Take, for instance, Friday night’s 6-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

The Rays have an AL-worst record of 31-56. Worse news? The Rays will also play their next 35 games against teams with winning records.

Tampa Bay broke up Cole Hamels‘ no-hitter when Corey Dickerson singled with two outs in the sixth (one of two hits he had). Steven Souza broke up the shutout with a home run in the eighth.

“Pretty disappointing game to say the least,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “We got outpitched, outhit, out-defended. They didn’t make any mental mistakes; we made a handful. So a pretty disappointing effort.”

In the fifth inning, the Rays gave up a run when Ian Desmond singled. Elvis Andrus scored from first base when centerfielder Mikie Mahtook lobbed the ball back into the infield.

“Yeah, we had a few lapses and defensive miscues. … It’s not the type of team we are,” Mahtook said. “Obviously, the play in center field was all on me and one of those things where he just got me. I got to the ball and he wasn’t at third base yet, and I didn’t throw the ball in as hard as I should have, and he got me. He baited me into it and I lobbed it to Beck at second, and he took the extra base. That won’t ever happen again, and it’s something that’s not a good feeling to happen to you.”

The Rays’ Matt Andriese took his fifth straight loss for the Rays.

Adrian Beltre hit two home runs for the Rangers and went four-for-four.

The Rangers scored two in the fifth and three in the sixth to break the game open.

Tonight, Jake Odorizzi of the Rays faces A.J. Griffin of the Rangers.

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Brad Miller hits his 25th homer as Rays sweep Padres

Brad Miller seems intent on making Tropicana Field his home.

Miller launched yet another home run, his 25th of the season, Wednesday afternoon and the Rays got shutout pitching from Chris Archer to win 2-0. It was the Rays’ fourth sweep of the season.

Miller has three home runs in his last seven at-bats. Of his 25 homers, 19 have come at Tropicana Field. He has almost equaled his career total of 29 coming into the season.

“I think I am picking the right pitches to swing at,” Miller said, “and when you do, you can’t miss them because you might only get one per at-bat. That’s what I try do to, is hit the one pitch I get each at-bat and move it.”

Miller and teammate Evan Longoria have a combined 52 home runs, the most of any infield teammates in the American League.

Miller’s home run was enough for the Rays because pitcher Archer was at his best. Archer threw seven and one-thirds innings of four-hit, shutout baseball. Alex Colome had his 28th save.

“Baseball is a game where you have to be on top of your game no matter what the score is. It was nice to jump out and get some runs,” Archer said. “We played great defense. Their pitcher, after that first inning, was executing pitches at a high level. It was good that we scored early, but we played great defense today, too.”

Archer, 7-16, has gone at least six innings in 15 of his last 16 starts.

“I think any lead helps the starting pitcher at any point, especially when they get a little bit to work with. Arch was on today. A lot of swing-and-misses, the slider was good. He should feel pretty good about that outing.

“He got to 3-2 counts on a couple guys and made some big pitches. Just from the slider replays, you could tell he had a really good slider. It’s a lineup … that’s really only seen him on video, and there’s not a ton of history there. So anytime that happens, it’s generally advantage, Arch.”

The Rays are now 16-15 since the All-Star break.

“You look at what we’ve done, and we’ve been not just quality, but Rays quality. A quality start is not what we consider quality,” Archer said. “We hold ourselves to a higher standard here. It’s just what it is. So we did catch a lot of heat the first half of the season when we were pitching mediocre. It’s nice that we’ve gotten in a groove.”

For the Rays, one thing that didn’t go well was when Kevin Kiermaier plunked teammate Nick Franklin as he swung in the on-deck circle.

“The most contact I made this whole day was before the game even started. I was just doing a little warm up routine that I always do with a little weight on my bat,” Kiermaier said. “I was just swinging it. Nick went to go get some pine tar, and I always make sure that I am clear of everything, but I don’t think he saw me and I smoked his helmet. I had that weight on there too, so it probably didn’t feel too good. I felt terrible. It was a freak accident, but glad he is OK.”

Said Franklin: “I feel great. I feel like really nothing happened. Right when it first happened, it was shocking — that’s what caught me off-guard. I felt a little bit dazed, but I didn’t feel like anything happened particularly bad at all. Partially it was my fault because I saw him there and I thought I was out of the way, and next thing I know, I got whacked.”

Friday, the Rays play against the Rangers. Matt Andriese pitches against Cole Hamels.

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Rays’ offensive is explosive again in big win over San Diego

Suddenly, there is muscle in their bats. Suddenly, the ballpark cannot hold the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays clobbered the San Diego Padres Tuesday night, hitting five home runs in an easy 15-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.

It continued a torrid offense by the Rays. Tampa Bay has now scored 35 runs over their last three games, and they’ve scored 66 runs in their last seven victories. Since the all-star break, the Rays are 15-15, and have scored 52 more runs than they’ve allowed, the biggest margin in the American League.

The Rays had 16 hits in this game, and 38 over their last games. Evan Longoria, Nick Franklin and Luke Maile each had three hits while Brad Miller, Matt Duffy and Logan Morrison all had two. Both of Miller’s hits were home runs, giving him 24 for the season.

“What an offensive show we put on tonight,” said manager Kevin Cash. “That was fun to sit there and be a part of. Everybody, again, played a part. Lot of home runs and lot of good at-bats, hard contact. For the most part, the guys have gone up there and been aggressive with their approaches. We’ve just got guys that are seeing the ball really well right now.”

Said Miller: “What an offensive show we put on tonight. That was fun to sit there and be a part of. Everybody, again, played a part. Lot of home runs and lot of good at-bats, hard contact. For the most part, the guys have gone up there and been aggressive with their approaches. We’ve just got guys that are seeing the ball really well right now.”

Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell walked four in five innings, but he allowed only one earned run. He has now allowed two earned runs or less in seven straight outings. His record is now 4-5 on the season.

“There’s a lot more to do and a lot more to work on,” Snell said. “I just need to be more aggressive and trust my stuff more. I felt like I get ahead, do what I want to do, then let the hitter get back to even or 3-2. So it was frustrating, but definitely, a lot to learn from. It was fun watching them swing it today.”

Cash said he wants to see better control from Snell.

“I thought Blake did some good things,” Cash said. “He did some things that were maybe not so good. But we all know he’s learning on the job a little bit right now. Pitching with a 7-0 lead in not always as easy as people make it out to be. The last thing you want to do is just lay pitches in there where guys are taking big hacks off you. But obviously Blake, with the command, has to get the ball in the zone a little bit more.”

Shortstop Duffy left the game in the third inning with a sore Achilles’ heel.

“Running out the swinging bunt, and then immediate going first-to-home afterward it just got a little more sore than usual,” Duffy said. “(It’s better to) Be safer than sorry. I’m not a big fan of coming out of games, but I’m not going to fight him on something like that. It was probably a smart move. I’m the stubborn one, for sure.”

The Rays’ 15 runs were their most since April of 2014.

Tampa Bay plays today in an attempt to sweep the Padres. Chris Archer (6-16) pitches against Christian Friedrich.

 

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