NEW YORK — The Rays have so much confidence in RHP Erasmo Ramirez that they feel he can handle any situation.
Which made it even more stunning Saturday when he let them down, giving up a two-out homer to Brett Gardner in the ninth that sent Tampa Bay walking off the Yankee Stadium field with a frustrating 3-2 loss.
"I did part of my job," Ramirez said. "This is the first time it happened to me. I don't want to have this happen again."
After LHP Blake Snell gave up a first-inning run in what overall was an impressive debut, the Rays (7-10) took a 2-1 lead and carried it into the seventh. Corey Dickerson, as part of his three-hit day, doubled in Logan Morrison for their first run, and Kevin Kiermaier launched a solo homer to rightfield in the next inning.
First, the Rays lost the lead in a messy seventh as two of their more dependable relievers, first Enny Romero then Xavier Cedeno, issued four-pitch walks. A catcher's interference call on Curt Casali, who came in for defense, with Jacoby Ellsbury at bat loaded the bases, then a line-drive single off Cedeno's glove scored the run.
Manager Kevin Cash said it was "uncharacteristic" to see Cedeno struggle. "In general, he's so reliable," Cash said. "That's okay. We've got to bail him out sometimes. We weren't able to do that" Saturday.
Then they lost the game in the ninth. Ramirez, who replaced Cedeno to finish the seventh, got two quick outs, then fell behind Gardner 2-and-1 and left a fastball that was supposed to be outside over too much of the plate.
"I just didn't execute the pitch, and he was looking for something around the strike zone and hit it as hard as he can, and he did," Ramirez said. "I got the loss, we got the loss, so I wasn't happy about it. And I'm not going to be happy. I'll have to continue working now and execute better."
HELPING HAND: After sending Snell back to Triple A following the game, the Rays summoned RHP Jhan (pronounced Yan) Marinez to add an arm to their bullpen.
Marinez, 27, spent most of 2015 and the start of this season at Durham, going 2-1-1, 2.25 in six appearances.
Marinez has previous big-league experience with the Marlins (four games in 2010) and White Sox (two games in 2012) and is known for being part of the 2011 trade that sent manager Ozzie Guillen to Miami.
Marinez essentially replaces RHP Danny Farquhar, who was sent down Friday to make room for Snell, and had to be added to the 40-man roster, with RHP Alex Cobb moved to the 60-day disabled list. RHP Andrew Bellatti would have been the likely callup, but he hasn't pitched since April 13 due to stiffness.
CATCHING ON: After C Hank Conger allowed another stolen base and two not-so-wild pitches to get away, it was interesting to note that Cash replaced him with Casali in the seventh inning of what was then a 2-1 game.
WINDING UP: After Ellsbury's daring steal of home played a key role in Friday's game, Cash maintained there wasn't much the Rays could have done, outside of reminding LHP Matt Moore, who was in full windup, to check over to third.
Cash said they leave it up to the pitcher on whether to pitch out of the stretch with a man on third or a full windup, where most are more comfortable. "We've got to take into consideration if we're going to be slow or if we have a guy that is capable of doing that … but ultimately it comes down to the pitcher's preference," he said.
MISCELLANY: Saturday was the 13th time in 17 games the Rays have scored three or fewer runs. … Cash gave Evan Longoria a DH day, so Steve Pearce started at third base, his first such regular-season assignment since 2011 with Pittsburgh. … 2B Logan Forsythe is slated for DH duty today. … Morrison had a double (just his third hit in 45 at-bats) and a hard out after reverting to his old batting stance. "It's a good sign," Cash said.