Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays lose to league-worst Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — It's not just the relentless Royals.

The Rays proved equally capable of losing to the majors-worst Twins on Thursday, blowing a pair of leads on the way to a 6-4 loss that was their fifth straight and 11th in 13 games.

Starter Matt Moore had another admittedly "way too up-and-down" night, allowing four runs on eight hits over five innings, throwing 96 pitches.

"He did some things pretty good, and then he did some things that we need to continue to work on,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "The one thing is we got the lead a couple times, and we kind of gave it right back. That was kind of the telling thing.''

Moore allowed runners in each of his innings pitched, running the total to 31 since he last had a clean 1-2-3 frame, in the first on May 3.

The Rays got off to a rough start as Brandon Guyer misplayed leadoff man Eduardo Nunez's fly to right into an inside-the-park homer. Guyer said there was "a little glare" but the ball hit his glove. "That's a play I've got to make,'' he said. "It killed me for the team, for Matt. It stinks.''

Twice the Rays (22-30) took leads, with a four-single second and a two-run homer by Evan Longoria in the fifth, and twice Moore gave it back.

Erasmo Ramirez took over in the sixth, and that didn't help. He allowed singles to the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, then with one out, he intentionally walked lefty Joe Mauer to load the bases. But he hit righty Brian Dozier, forcing in what turned out to be the decisive run. The Twins added a run off Xavier Cedeno in the seventh, with Guyer failing to make a strong throw.

Moore wasn't ready to come out after five and showed it by staying on the bench for the sixth, claiming he wanted to watch Ramirez pitch. "I'm not going to sit there and question what (Cash is) doing, but at the same time I definitely felt like I had more to give,'' Moore said.

Knowing the leash is short can impact his pitching, Moore said.

JeNNINGS OUT: OF Desmond Jennings' recent poor and seemingly disinterested play has been a popular topic of conversation around the Rays. But not for Jennings, who declined to talk with the Tampa Bay Times about his performance.

Jennings on Wednesday against the Royals didn't make an attempt to throw out a runner in a key situation, and he has come up short on several other recent plays. He was not in the lineup Thursday, but Cash said there was no correlation. "That has nothing to do with why he is not in the lineup," he said.

Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson heavily criticized Jennings in a Thursday radio interview with 620-AM and said he would have pulled him from Wednesday's game.

NO JAKIN': RHP Jake Odorizzi is eager to start tonight coming off Sunday's strong, albeit cruel, outing when he took a no-hitter into the seventh but lost in allowing one hit, a two-run homer. "It's one of those starts you want to keep in your head," he said. "You want to keep that feeling as long as possible."

PEARCE UPDATE: INF Steve Pearce remained out of the lineup for a second straight game in hopes of calming down the tendinitis in his right elbow, but delivered a pinch-hit single in the ninth. "It's feeling better," Pearce said. "But we want to get this knocked out."

REHAB REPORT: 2B Logan Forsythe (fractured left shoulder) continues to progress toward a mid-June return from a fractured left shoulder, advancing from hitting off a tee to tossed balls on Thursday at the Trop. … OF Kevin Kiermaier (fractured left hand) will have his stitches removed today. … RHP Brad Boxberger (left oblique strain) received a cortisone injection so the team will wait about a week for a re-assessment. … LHP Jonny Venters (third Tommy John surgery) is close to joining advanced Class A Charlotte.

MISCELLANY: Longoria was the first Ray to double digits in home runs with his 10th. … Thunderstorms, some severe, are forecast for today and into tonight.

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