Rays Blow Early Lead and Series Vs. Yankees

NEW YORK - JULY 18: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after being hit with a first inning pitch against the New York Yankees on July 18 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

After a half-inning of play, it seemed the Rays were on their way to a series victory against the Yankees in New York. Unfortunately for us, there were eight more innings to be played. As quickly as Tampa Bay jumped out to a 3-0 lead, David Price nearly handed it all back as he allowed two runs in the bottom half of the first. It would be the beginning of what ended up as Price's worst start of the season.

Price would settle down for a few innings before imploding in the fifth. He allowed a run on a walk, wild pitch, and a single, before getting two outs with the game at a manageable 4-3 score. With two outs, he gave up a walk, single and a double that pushed three more runs across the plate - giving the Yankees a 7-3 lead, and effectively ending the game.

In all, Price allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out just three batters and used 96 pitches in 5 innings. While Price's start was a disappointment, the offensive output was equally as disappointing.

Following the three-run home run by Carlos Pena in the first, the Rays scored just two more runs - both in mop-up time. It looked like the Rays would get to Yankees' starter Andy Pettitte, but his day was cut short after just 2.1 innings due to a strained groin. At the time of his exit, the Rays had already amassed six hits and two walks.

The biggest instance of fail came immediately following Pettitte's injury. David Robertson completed a walk to load the bases with just one out. Stop me if you heard this one, but after working the count in his favor, Sean Rodriguez popped to shallow left field; failing to advancing any runners. This is not an indictment of Rodriguez, rather the Rays offense with runners in scoring position lately. B.J. Upton followed with a long fly ball to complete the GTMI fail. Who knows that happens if either gets a hit.

What we do know is just two of the teams' 12 hits came with runners in scoring position. Overall, they left 12 men on base. Meanwhile, the Yankees had six hits with RISP and left just six on base - or half the amount of stranded Rays.

Again, the small solace is Boston also lost - keeping the Rays 3.5 ahead of the Red Sox. That said, Tampa Bay lost a game on the Yankees and now sit three back. In many ways, it feels like we could've been enjoying a sweep instead of a series loss.

On to Baltimore, where anything less than two of three is unacceptable.

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