The Rays fell once again to the Pirates, thiis time by a closer score of 6-5. The lack of hitting with runners in scoring position didn't doom them this evening -- they were a respectable 3-8 in that regard -- it was the pitching.
Chris Archer was coming off one of his best starts of the season, but leadoff walks turned out to be too much to overcome. A free pass to Gregory Polanco to start the game came around to score in quick order. Another free pass to lead off the third inning ended up scoring after a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single. The Pirates would actually record four singles that inning, leading to three runs.
Archer was able to work seven innings, so at least the struggles didn't cause a short outing. The only extra base hit he allowed was a double to Ike Davis, though it came with two outs in the sixth, and was followed by a run scoring single. He has his slider working tonight, recording four strikeouts with it and inducing eight whiffs in 33 pitches. Even the two sliders that Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen hit for run scoring singles were very low in the zone. He didn't pitch great, but was able to keep the bullpen in check, so at least that's something.
As for the offense, things didn't get started until the eighth and ninth innings. They'd scored one run in the fifth on a Jose Molina (!) double, but didn't cross the plate again until Evan Longoria brought home Brandon Guyer with his tenth home run of the season. They made it interesting in the ninth, getting a two out, two-run single from Guyer to close the gap to one, but Longoria flew out on the first pitch he saw to end any chance at a comeback.
The real killer was the two out runs the Rays allowed. Archer allowed one in the sixth, and Brad Boxberger gave up a homer to Russell Martin in the eighth. Take care of those hitters and you win the game.
David Price takes the hill tomorrow in what may be his final home start as a Ray. If you're there, show your appreciation when he walks off the mound.