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Rays 4, Angels 6: Bullpen Can’t Close the Deal

Homers from Lowe and Choi are not enough as the bullpen gives up the lead late. Also, please stop pitching to Ohtani.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

On a rare day when the Rays bullpen was unable to lock down a two run lead late, Tampa Bay had to settle for a little meatloaf against their former skipper Joe Maddon, as they dropoped a tough 6-4 decision to the LA Ohtanis. The loss prevented the Rays from sweeping the season series, and combined with the Red Sox victory over the Yankees, dropped the Rays out of first place in the AL East, .5 game back of Boston.

With lefty Patrick Sandoval taking the hill for the Angels, the Rays sent out a pretty standard lineup. Soft tosser Ryan Yarbrough got the start for Tampa Bay.

One bright spot was Yarbs, he looked to be back to his old self, going six innings, giving up six hits and two runs, walking one while striking out four.

His first and most entertaining jam came in the third. The Angels got a lead off double by Ward, a fly out to advance Ward to third, and a hit by pitch of Legares that definitely should have been a strikeout. So with runners on the corners, the stage for Fletcher and one of the goofier double plays you’ll ever see. Fletcher’s pop up to short right was handled by Lowe with his back to the infield (even though Margot had the better angle), which led to a blind and wild throw home by Brandon (even though Ward wasn’t breaking). Ward broke for home when the ball got away, but Yarbrough backed up the play nicely and made an accurate throw to Zunino. However, Zunino did not seem to see the throw coming, only picking it up at the last second before swatting an emergency tag on the sliding Ward. Did you follow that? Yeah, me neither. Just watch it.

Just your regular old F4-1-2 DP. Ho hum.

Unfortunately, Yarbrough was unable to get out his next jam in the fourth. Ohtani led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third with two outs on a ground out by Walsh. He scored on a Gosselin single to Lowe at deep second. 1-0 Angels.

The Rays bats were in kind of a funk early, earning no hits and two walks through the front four. And the walks were erased on a double play (Margot) and a caught stealing (Arozarena). So things weren’t going well, until, with two outs, Brandon Lowe unloaded on a first pitch curve and hit it out to right.

1-1 tie game.

The Rays tried to add on, when Zunino followed with a long single toward the left center, and moved to third when Kiermaier reached on a throwing error by Rengifo. But Diaz struck out to end the rally.

The Angels grabbed the lead back in the sixth when Fletcher singled back through the middle, then scored on Ohtani’s long double to right. 2-1 Angels. Yarbs did a good job to strand Ohtani with a soft lineout from Rendon, a strikeout of Walsh, and infield single by Gosselin (really? who does this guy think he is?), and a popout to short by Rengifo.

Leading off the bottom to the frame, Wander Franco snapped his hitless streak by looping a broken bat single to left. All those hard hit outs, then a broken bat bloop. Baseball gonna baseball. Meadows followed with a line drive single to left, putting runners at the corners and ending the day for Sandoval. Joe Maddon gave the ball to Mike Mayers.

After a Randy pop out, Ji-Man Choi hammered one out to right for a three run blast.

4-2 Rays!

With Thompson on for the seventh, the Angels started to chip away at the Rays lead. Taylor Ward doubled, moved to third on a Suzuki groundout, then scored on a Lagares double to shallow left that Randy was unable to corral. 4-3 Rays.

A David Fletcher groundout to Diaz at third would be end of the day for Marge, as Cash gave the ball to Springs to face Ohtani. This did not work out well, as Ohtani tripled into the right field corner, scoring Lagares. 4-4 all. An intentional walk to Rendon followed (wait, wut? We pitched to Ohtani then walked Rendon? WTF???), before Springs wiggled off the hook with a strikeout of Walsh.

The Rays staged their final mini-rally in the botton of the seventh, Zunino led off with a soft single to right. Brett Phillips went in a pinch runner, and advanced to second on a KK groundout. A Diaz strikeout and a Franco walk followed ended the day for Mayers. Veteran lefty Tony Watson got the call to face Austin Meadows, who tapped out to third.

In the eighth, Matt Wisler finished off what the rest of the bullpen started, giving up his first run as a Ray. It came on a lead off homer to left by Phil Gosselin (Phil Gosselin? Seriously?) homered. 5-4 Angels.

Fairbanks in the ninth made the comeback a bit more difficult when he surrendered an Ohtani homer to left center. 6-4 Angels. Not that it mattered, as the Rays were unable to generate any challenges in their half of the eighth and ninth innings against Watson and Iglesias.

The Rays are off tomorrow. They travel to Washington, where they will have a short two game set against Davey Martinez’s Expos Nationals.