ST. PETERSBURG — Getting bashed for big innings was the Rays' undoing against the Phillies again Sunday.
One day after watching Chris Archer get battered for six runs in the second inning of an 11-3 loss, Tampa Bay gave up four runs in the third inning to the Phillies thanks to a throwing error and a bases-loaded double by Scott Kingery off rookie Ryan Yarbrough.
The Phillies also erupted for five runs in the eighth. The result was a 10-4 loss, the Rays' fourth straight and their third series sweep already this season.
Yarbrough, making his first major-league start, was staked to a 2-0 lead after Denard Span led off the first with a home run and Kevin Kiermaier singled and scored on Mallex Smith's triple.
But Yarbrough struggled with his command, walking two and hitting a batter. He labored through a 38-pitch third inning and left one out shy of completing the fifth.
"I thought he was okay," manager Kevin Cash said of Yarbrough, chosen to start on the Rays' bullpen day.
"Pitch count got up. I know he's better than that," Cash said. "We saw him better than that in spring training. He will be better than that. It's just probably a lot of anxiety. I know he's pitched, but there's something to be said about that first start. Similar to Johnny Field (Saturday) night, and maybe we saw a little bit of that. As soon as he figures out that his stuff plays up here, to trust it and attack hitters early in the count. That's what makes him good.
"I was talking to pitching coach Kyle (Snyder) earlier (Sunday) on the bench, and I think Yarbrough struck out 10 (batters) a game in Triple A and walked 2½. Right now, it's kind of even, and that's not him. We will let him being young, grow into that confident role."
Yarbrough and the Rays (3-12) got a little unlucky. He thought he was out of the third inning with a 2-1 lead when Kingery popped up to catcher Jesus Sucre behind home plate. But the baseball clipped the top wire of the fencing near the Rays dugout.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before," Yarbrough said. "That's part of baseball. It could've gone either way. That's me just not executing the next pitch, and he made me pay for it."
At a Snell's pace
Pitcher Blake Snell agreed with Cash's assessment that starters such as himself, Archer and Jake Faria need to set the tone for the pitching staff. In 10 starts, they have combined for a 2-3 record with a 6.57 ERA. None has pitched into the seventh inning this season.
"We all know the importance of that, for sure," Snell said. "I know we're going to do that. We want that to happen right now. I know my goal is to always go past six, and Chris and Jake the same thing."
Snell, who will start the series opener tonight against the Rangers, allowed only one hit and one run and struck out 10 against the White Sox in his last outing but needed a career-high 114 pitches while walking five.
"I used to say it was being lazy, but I would say it's me losing focus,"
Snell said. "Because a lot of it happened with two outs. Get the first two guys out quick and then try to do too much to end the inning. Just by seeing that, I'm going to be more aware when I go and get two outs, let's end it right away and stop trying to get a strikeout … let's get past this inning and go."
Go fourth with Yonny?
The Rays seem ready to make Yonny Chirinos their fourth starter, but Cash said he's not able to make that announcement yet. "Yeah, there's a lot of reasons why I can't make the call," Cash said. "We're evaluating everything. As you know, as everyone knows, the bullpen days, it's interesting how they evolve, how we get through them and how we can pick up the workload the following bullpen day. I think we're getting close on decisions, but ultimately like we've talked about, the three starters we penciled in starting the season, them providing the length would help this situation be a little smoother."
Field, who made his MLB debut with a 0-for-3 day Saturday, replaced the injured Kiermaier in centerfield and got his first major-league hit, a double to left. He went 2-for-4. … Brad Miller (groin strain) took ground balls and hit in the batting cage before Sunday's game, and Cash said he is closer to beginning a rehab assignment. "Brad has done a nice job throughout the rehab process, and hopefully there's no more hiccups because we're missing his bat in the lineup," Cash said. … Span blasted a long home run to rightfield to lead off the game for the Rays. Span did not play Saturday due to an "aching body" but was in the lineup Sunday as the DH. It was the 15th leadoff homer of his career. … RHP Ryan Weber, a Clearwater Central Catholic and St. Petersburg College star, cleared waivers and was re-assigned by the Rays to Triple-A Durham.