Rays lose 2-0 to Angels
Rookie righthander Jake Odorizzi gave the Rays what they wanted Thursday for his spot start, a solid five-inning outing that kept them in the game.
But Odorizzi was still saddled with the loss as the bats couldn’t back him up. The Rays stranded the bases loaded in the first and managed just three hits all game in a 2-0 loss to the Angels in a matinee in front of 15,741 at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay made it interesting in the ninth, putting runners on second and third with one out - thanks to a Wil Myers walk and Yunel Escobar double - but Kelly Johnson popped out and pinch-hitter David DeJesus flied out to end the game.
For the Rays (75-57), it was their fourth loss in their last five games, and first home series they’ve dropped since June 13-16. They head out to start a 10-game, west-coast trip that starts Friday against the surging A’s, who are right behind them in the Wild Card race.
Odorizzi, making his fourth big-league start (and first since June 18), performed well, allowing just one run over five innings, scattering four hits. He didn’t get any support, however. The Rays, who squandered bases-loaded opportunities on Tuesday and Wednesday, did it again in the first inning Thursday against lefty Jason Vargas. Desmond Jennings led off with a double and Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch. But after an Evan Longoria fielder’s choice and a Wil Myers walk, Sean Rodriguez popped out and Yunel Escobar flied out to thwart the threat.
That loomed large as after letting Vargas off the hook in the first, the Angels lefty settled in, retiring 11 of the next 13 and finishing with seven two-hit innings.
Odorizzi held is own, seemingly carrying over the confidence he gained from his last big-league start – allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings against the Red Sox in Boston June 18. The only run Odorizzi gave up came in the second, when Hank Conger got a one-out walk and later scored on an RBI single by Luis Jimenez.
Odorizzi retired the next six Angels until Conger’s leadoff double in the fifth. But Odorizzi was helped by a second double play, Rodriguez catching a low liner by Grant Green and doubling Conger off second. Odorizzi was relieved by Alex Torrres to start the six, having scattered four hits and thrown 83 pitches.
Torres, who has been so dominant in relief his rookie season, gave up a run in the sixth thanks to a two singles and a walk, giving the Angels a two-run lead.
The Rays had another great chance to come back in the sixth, as Zobrist led off with an infield single, moving to second on a throwing error by Jimenez, the Angels third baseman. But Longoria, who is hitless since the Yankees series, struck out. And after a Wil Myers walk, Rodriguez struck out and Escobar flied out.
With James Loney and Matt Joyce not in the lineup against the lefty Vargas, the bottom of the Rays order, 5th-through 9th, went 1-for-19 with five strikeouts. Longoria made two great defensive plays, but continued his mini-slump, going 0-for-4, making him 0-for-15 in his last four games. Struggling Wil Myers had a career-high three walks, but is still hitless in his last 22 plate appearances.