Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays blow lead, lose to Royals

ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier did his part, delivering his first professional grand slam in a four-hit night. So did Alex Cobb, pitching into the seventh for the first time in nearly a month. Relievers Grant Balfour, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger all pitched in.

That got the Rays to the ninth inning Wednesday with a two-run lead in a game they had to have to maintain their streak of winning series, their momentum and their renewed hope of salvaging the season.

But for it all to work, and to really matter, manager Joe Maddon has said, everyone on the team must do his job. "I can't emphasize enough that we have to all contribute and not just several guys," he said.

Joel Peralta didn't, faltering to start the ninth, allowing a single and a one-out walk. Then rookie Kirby Yates, thrust into the toughest situation of his 11-game major-league career, failed, allowing a three-run homer to Salvador Perez.

And what looked to be another inspiring win instead turned into a cruel, crushing defeat for the Rays, 5-4.

"It stings a little bit," Yates said. "Obviously it's a game we should have won. We needed to win. Every W, every win is kind of crucial right now. Obviously it doesn't feel good to be in that situation and let your team down."

The loss was just the Rays' third in their past 12 games, but with series wins their new currency, it was costly, ending their streak at three. They dropped back to 42-52 and stayed nine games behind the American League East-leading Orioles.

Maddon said he had no regrets about putting Yates, the 27-year-old called up a month ago for his first look, in such a treacherous situation. "He's been a closer at Triple A, he has great stuff," Maddon said. "He put a pitch in a bad spot and we lost the game."

But he also said his original plan — after intentionally limiting the workload for Balfour (who faced two batters and got one out), McGee (three and one) and Boxberger (two and two) — was for Peralta to close the ninth. And it was when that didn't work that he went to Yates to face two right-handed hitters, Santana lofting the ball just over the short wall in the leftfield corner, 330 feet of heartbreak. (Juan Carlos Oviedo, a more experienced option, was not available due to soreness.)

Peralta said his mistake was not getting ahead of the hitters. He allowed a 1-and-1 single to Jarrod Dyson, who stole second and third as Peralta struck out Lorenzo Cain, then he fell behind Eric Hosmer and walked him, leading to Yates being summoned.

The way Maddon saw it, it was the unproductive offense — 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, 11 left on — that put them in this situation.

Then it was a two-out single by Cain in the seventh that prompted the bullpen shuffle. He didn't want Cobb to face Hosmer, who had been swinging well against him, so he had to summon Balfour to finish the seventh.

Then he brought in McGee to start the eighth but didn't like how his best reliever looked: "Jake's been over-extended, I didn't see the same stuff.

So then he went to Boxberger, whom he didn't want to use at all, to get through the eighth. And that led to Peralta starting the ninth, and that led to trouble, a silent locker room and a noticeable sense of loss.

"This one is bad," Peralta said. "It really hurts."

Rays blow lead, lose to Royals 07/09/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.