The Texas Rangers are still in town, and tonight, it’s game three of the four-game series. Josh Fleming was called up last night and takes the mound for the Rays against Kohei Arihara.
Welcome back to the hill, @JoshRFleming! pic.twitter.com/mX1sCI9AM7— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 14, 2021
Fleming was good in the first inning, allowing only one hit but retiring the side on 11 pitches. The top of the second? No problem, only three former Rays organization players due up in the order. First up was Nate Lowe, who put the game’s first run on the board with a solo shot to left, 1-0 Rangers. Next up was Nick Solak, who flew out. Finally, Jonah Heim struck out for the inning’s second out.
The Rays threatened in the bottom of the second after Yandy Diaz led off the inning with a single and Wendle moved him up to third with a double. Unfortunately, Diaz missed the go sign and stopped at third. Surely that won’t cost the Rays! It did. Manuel Margot struck out while Yoshi Tsutsugo and Mike Zunino both struck out to strand both runners.
The game moved along scoreless into the top of the fifth. No runs were scored in the fifth, but Fleming did record his second strikeout on the night. Fleming’s night was done after five innings of work. 84 pitches led to one run on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Chris Mazza entered in the top of the sixth.
Chris Mazza also loaded the bases in the top of the sixth. A well-executed double play by Yandy Diaz and Mike Zunino got the first two outs, while a groundout ended the inning to keep it a one-run ballgame.
Ahh, the ol' 3-2, replay-review, umpire-overturns-the-call-made-on-the-field double play!#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/g8HOb5Ghvn— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) April 15, 2021
In the top of the seventh, Mazza once again put himself in some trouble by allowing runners on the corners with no outs. Fortunately, Yandy Diaz initiated yet another double play to keep the game close.
The @RaysBasebally turn ANOTHER double play against the Rangers, this time getting the out at first, getting the runner in a pickle and tagging him out, AND keeping the man on third from scoring!— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) April 15, 2021
Watch the game on Bally Sports Sun or stream it live here: https://t.co/KH3Db48Ceq pic.twitter.com/DBOCrP5fBt
Unfortunately, Mazza would walk the next hitter and David Dahl would drive both home with a double to make it 3-0 Rangers. After intentionally walking Joey Gallo, Adolis Garcia hit a triple off of the top of the left field wall but was thrown out going for an inside-the-park home run. The triple made it 5-0 Rangers, where the score would stay until the bottom of the ninth.
Before the bottom of the ninth, Hunter Strickland pitched the top half of the inning in relief of Mazza, who allowed four runs in three innings of work on five hits. Strickland worked a scoreless inning.
Brandon Lowe eliminated the possibility of a shutout with a solo home run to begin the inning. Leaving his bat at 107 mph, the ball traveled 418 feet.
It's better than nothing pic.twitter.com/FZh9IHccLW— DRaysBay (@draysbay) April 15, 2021
Manuel Margot hit a two-out single to leave a little bit of hope, but Tsutsugo struck out to end the game.
The Rays fall to 5-7 after tonight’s disappointing loss, losing their chance at winning the series against the Rangers. They will try to avoid the series loss tomorrow night at home with Rich Hill throwing first pitch at 7:10 pm. Jordan Lyles will start for the Rangers.