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Rays Can’t Finish Off Series Win In Motor City

photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays could not hold a 5-2 lead in the eighth, or a 7-5 lead in the tenth inning Sunday, eventually falling to the Detroit Tigers 8-7 in 11 innings, and dropping two of three games over the weekend in Comerica Park.

Luis Patino started by retiring the first seven hitters he faced, but Dustin Garneau doubled with one out in the third, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single by Victor Reyes.

Tampa Bay quickly answered in the top of the fourth, as Nelson Cruz led off the inning against Jose Urena by blasting a solo homer to left, his 31st of the season, tying the game at one apiece.

But Detroit would counter in the bottom of the inning, with Jeimer Candelario leading off the home half of the inning wit a solo shot of his own to make it a 2-1 game.

Patino would exit the game one out into the fifth, with Louis Head inducing a double play from Miguel Cabrera to end a rally, and JT Chargois working a scoreless seventh.

Tampa Bay would take the lead in the eighth, as pinch-hitter Austin Meadows led off with a base hit to right off Jose Cisnero, and Brett Phillips, just activated from the injured list, followed with a two-run homer to left.

Cisnero then hit Randi Arozarena with a pitch and walked Manuel Margot before being replaced by Alex Lange, who got Cruz to fly out, but Yandy Diaz doubled off Candelario’s glove, allowing both runners to score and make it 5-5.

Tampa Bay could not hold the lead, as David Robertson loaded the bases on singles by Akil Baddoo, Jonathan Schoop, and Robbie Grossman, leading to Cabrera driving in a pair with a single to cut the deficit to a single run.  Candelario grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Grossman being thrown out at the plate, while Castro’s fly ball coupled with a throwing error allowed pinch-runner Derek Hill to score from second base to tie the game.

The game would stay 5-5 until the tenth, when Diaz’s RBI double scored Ji-Man Choi, and Kevin Kiermaier’s groundout brought in Cruz, who had been intentionally walked earlier in the inning.  But Detroit would again counter in the home half of the inning.  Andrew Kittredge nearly finished off the inning, getting to within a strike of getting Candelario to end the contest, but he hung a slider and te third baseman blasted it to right-center for a game-tying two-run homer.

The Tigers ended things in the home half of the eleventh as J.P. Feyereisen walked Reyes and Baddoo to load the bases with one out, and after getting Schoop to ground into a fielder’s choice that retired Niko Goodrum at the plate, but walked Grossman to force in the winning run and end the game.

Tampa Bay remains nine games up in the American League East over both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rays head to Toronto for the first time in nearly two years ti begin a series with the Blue Jays Monday.  Collin McHugh (6-1, 1.46 ERA) will open the game against Alek Manoah (5-2, 3.71 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 7:07.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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