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Bullpen struggles as Rays lose again to Toronto Blue Jays

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The bullpen was mortal. The defense wasn’t there. And the baseball was on the wrong side of the fence.

It all added up to disaster for the Tampa Bay Rays, who let a four-run outburst to help the Toronto Blue Jays escape with a 5-1 victory Sunday afternoon.

The Rays, tied 1-1 going into the ninth, came apart at the bullpen. Xavier Cedeno gave up a double to Darwin Barney, then walked Michael Sanders. That brought on Alex Colome, who had saved all five of his games this season. But Colome walked a batter to load the bases.

Edwin Encarnacion then grounded to Logan Forsythe, but with the shift on, there was no one left to cover second, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a three-run homer, causing a loss that made the Rays fall to 10-12 on the season.

Manager Kevin Cash said he wished he had played the infield in, but Evan Longoria suggested the ball would have gone up the middle for a hit. Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman struck out 11 Rays. Jake Odorizzi pitched seven innings and allowed only one earned run.

The Rays managed only four hits on the afternoon, two of them by Longoria (a single and a home run).

For the Rays, the game was a rare one for relief pitchers. Cedeno and Colome gave up four earned runs and managed only two outs on the afternoon.

The Rays are off Monday and play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday. Matt Moore pitches against former Ray Scott Kazmir.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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