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Tampa Bay bullpen falters again in late-inning loss to Mets

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When a team’s biggest strength becomes a weakness, it means trouble.

The bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays, the best thing about the team this season, faltered for the second straight game Friday night, losing a 4-3 game when both Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger gave up runs, a rarity.

Boxberger took the loss, giving up three hits, an error and a wild pitch in the ninth inning. He also gave up two runs. Had Boxberger shut down New York, a bad hitting team itself, the Rays could have won 3-2.

Alas, it didn’t happen. Coupled with the three consecutive walks – two intentional – that Boxberger gave up Wednesday night, it cost the Rays their night. The Mets came from behind in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Tampa Bay hit three home runs in the game – Grady Sizemore, James Loney and Evan Longoria – to take a 3-2 lead into the ninth. Sizemore also made an impressive over-the-fence catch of a ball hit by Travis D’Arnaud.

Jake Odorizzi, who has the lowest run support in the American League this year, pitched well, giving up one run in 6 2/3 inning. The Mets’ Jacon deGrom gave up two in 6 1/3.

The Mets’ comeback started when Lucas Duda bunted to start the ninth, but Boxberger made a throwing error. He followe with a wild pitch, then gave up a game-tying double to Michael Conforto. Conforto was singled home by Wilmer Flores with the winning run.

Today, the Rays’ Nathan Karns goes for his seventh win against Noah Syndergaard, who has won six of his last nine outings with a 1.80 earned run average.

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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