Well, that was ugly. The Rays dropped the rubber match 5-4 to the Minnesota Twins. They lost despite holding the Twins to four hits, in large part because they issued nine(!) free passes. The loss puts a wrap on a 6-3 road trip, which, if you had told me we’d get beforehand, I would have been very pleased. But now? Feels like cold comfort. The Rays lead over the second place Red Sox has shrunk to three games.
Luis Patiño got the start against Charlie Barnes. Lineups:
1 more before we head home pic.twitter.com/y65Mg2hfu9— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 15, 2021
Luis Patiño struggled mightily to find his release point from the get go. He walked three of the first four hitters and gave up a single to another, setting up a bases loaded, no out situation already down 1-0. It looked for a moment that Patiño would get out with no further damage when he struck out Garver and got Larnach to hit a grounder back to the mound. But rather than go home, Patiño made the inexplicable decision to go to second to try for a DP. The throw bounced halfway to second, and despite Franco’s best efforts to still get two, only yielded the out at second. 2-0 Twins.
The Rays had a shot in the third when Zunino’s single to right was followed by a double to left by the recently recalled Brosseau. But they were unable to cash in as Zunino was thrown out at the plate on a Wendle chopper to first, and Arozarena and Cruz struck out.
Patiño slogged through two more scoreless but not pretty innings before he gave way to Ryan Sherriff. Patiño’s line: 3 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts.
Sherriff didn’t look much better, retiring the first two hitters he faced before walking the next two. Cash then called on Kittredge to get out of the jam against Josh Donaldson.
But even Kitt was mortal today. With a full count and the runners going, Donaldson smacked a hanging slider into left, scoring both runners. 4-0 Twins.
Mike Zunino finally put the Rays on the board in the fifth, driving a solo bomb out to left.
Adam Conley made his Rays debut in the bottom of the fifth. He flashed good velo and a funky delivery over his two innings of work. Though he did walk one and hit a batter, he also struck out four, gave up no hits and, most importantly, hung zeros. He should be a nice addition to the pen.
Rays legend Edgar Garcia got the sixth for the Twins. With two outs, Meadows drew a six pitch walk. Franco followed by turning around a hanging slider and depositing it into the seats beyond the right field flower box.
Against Tyler Duffey in the seventh, the Rays loaded the bases with one out on a walk by Luplow, and error on Simmons that allowed Brosseau to reach, and a walk by Wendle. The stage was set for Randy, who had struck out in all three of his previous at bats. This time, he hit a tapper to third for an infield single, tying the game at 4-4. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the lead. Cruz struck out on four pitches, ending Duffey’s day, and Meadows, who had a tough matchup against the lefty Thielbar, popped out to end the inning.
Chargois was next in line and worked scoreless seventh and eighth innings. He walked one and struck out three.
The Rays wasted a golden opportunity in the eighth. Franco led off and took an 0-2 curve into the gap in left center for a double. Margot followed by sacrificing him to third. But Luplow was unable to come through, popping out to second, and Zunino grounded out to end the threat.
It ended in the ninth. Wisler took over, and Kepler smacked a lead off double and made it all the way to third thanks to a bad misplay from Austin Meadows in left. Polanco then lifted an 0-1 slider to Randy in right, scoring Kepler. 5-4 Twins, ball game.
Your Three Stars of the Game
It’s weird doing these after a loss, but sometimes it helps to focus on the positive.
- Adam Conley - New Guy looked really sharp and held the Twins in check, allowing the bats to rally.
- JT Chargois - Not really a New Guy anymore, but worked two fine innings.
- Wander Franco - Sure, he hit a game tying homer. But this nice play in the first, scooping a bad throw by Patiño and nearly turning two, reminds you that he’s more than just a developing bat.
The Rays start a four game set tomorrow at the Trop against the Baltimore Orioles. Game time is at 7:10 PM.