ST. PETERSBURG — The afternoon had dragged on so long that LHP Cesar Ramos laughed in agreement when someone suggested it seemed like he had pitched the first game of a doubleheader.
But Ramos had reason of his own to smile, making a much better case than in his previous start to stay in the Rays rotation with a solid five-inning outing — one run, four hits, one walk — in what ended up a 5-1 12-inning loss.
"I felt a lot more comfortable out there and I think it showed a little bit," he said. "I'm just hoping for another opportunity to keep that going."
Even Ramos admitted his rough start in Cincinnati April 13 gave the Rays cause for pause, and manager Joe Maddon noted Sunday morning how well prospects Nathan Karns and Enny Romero were doing at Triple A.
But Maddon seemed pleased with Ramos' Sunday showing: "He did really well. It was a great bounceback. He mixed his pitches well. He was more of a strike-thrower."
BULLPEN SHUFFLE: Rookie LHP C.J. Riefenhauser was optioned back to Durham after the game as the Rays plan to activate RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, who needed extra time after reporting late to spring training, from the DL for Tuesday's game. Oviedo made seven rehab appearances, allowing two hits and one run total over his last six. "I'm really eager to get him up here," Maddon said. "He's going to make this bullpen thicker."
INSTANT REPLAY: The first of two calls reversed by replay was obvious on video: that Rays RF Wil Myers didn't catch Brett Gardner's fourth-inning fly, which bounced off the mesh fencing atop the wall then the padding before landing in his glove.
The umps awarded Gardner a double — as Alfonso Soriano scored — but he felt he should have gotten more.
"I was unhappy I had to go back to second base," he said. "We're taught to keep playing. … You're penalizing me for keeping going and you're rewarding him for acting like he caught it when he knew he didn't catch it. … Thank goodness we do have the replay process in place."
On the second, Rays video coordinator Chris Fernandez relayed word that he thought there was proof the Rays caught Ichiro Suzuki stealing second in the 11th, and the review proved it. The Rays are now 3-4 in challenges.
MOORE SET: LHP Matt Moore headed to Pensacola, driving with girlfriend Anna and goldendoodle dog Griffin along, for Tuesday's Tommy John surgery by Dr. James Andrews. Moore said he was as ready as he could be and prepared mentally for the 12- to 15-month rehab process. "The surgery is just the very beginning, the other stuff is where the real work is done," he said. "As far as the next few days, I just pretty much have to show up."
MORE MEDICAL: RHP Jeremy Hellickson said he "felt really good" after playing catch at 90 feet Sunday, and the setback in his rehab from arthroscopic elbow surgery — feeling "pretty sore" after throwing curveballs — should only push his return a few days deeper into June. "I don't even really look at it as a setback," he said. "I felt fine playing catch — it didn't respond to the curveball as I wanted, so I just took a few extra days off."
RHP Alex Cobb, sidelined with an oblique strain sustained April 12, said he is feeling better and targeting a late May/early June return. CF Desmond Jennings said his sore groin "is a lot better" and Maddon said he is expected back in the lineup Tuesday.
MISCELLANY: OF David DeJesus struck out as a pinch-hitter, extending his slump to 0-for-24. … The Rays are hitting .216 vs. left-handers and are 1-6 vs. lefty starters. … Yankees SS Dean Anna said he was "100 percent positive" he checked his swing in the decisive 12th-inning at-bat. … The four-game series drew 110,785.