OAKLAND, Calif. — RHP Erasmo Ramirez insisted the pitch to Billy Butler wasn't that bad, but the result certainly was, the difference in another close loss, 3-2 to the A's on Sunday
"He got a good pitch," Ramirez said. "It was a little bit high on the outside corner. He got the right swing at the right moment, good contact. I cannot believe it. At that moment, I believed it was a line drive, a double against the wall. The luck wasn't with me today."
Home runs have been a recurring problem for Ramirez, who has now allowed nine in 60 innings; for the whole Rays bullpen, which has allowed 44, third most in the AL; and, actually, the entire staff, with 126 in 98 games. (compared to 175 in 162 last year.)
"Home runs, they've beat us up a lot this year," manager Kevin Cash said. "Solo shots, two-run, three-run, whatever they are. It just seems like we've given up an uncharacteristic amount of home runs. And obviously when you're giving up that many, they are coming at the wrong time."
Ramirez hasn't been as effective overall since his heavy early season usage, and the Rays have tried to give him more rest between outings. Though he threw 29 pitches over two-plus innings Friday, he said that wasn't a factor in Sunday's outcome.
FAMILIAR FOE: The Rays did well in trading RHP Jesse Hahn, along with LHP Alex Torres, to San Diego in January 2014, getting back a package that included RHPs Matt Andriese and Brad Boxberger and 2B Logan Forsythe. But Hahn, who was then sent to Oakland in December 2014, was looking forward to facing his former mates for the first time Sunday. He showed them what they missed out on, showing off an electric fastball in allowing four hits while pitching into the eighth.
REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) felt he was 100 percent after his third rehab outing Saturday, but the Rays plan to wait until at least Friday to activate him. First, they want him to make two more appearances — on consecutive nights — with the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, slated for Tuesday and Wednesday in Jupiter.
"He felt really good, obviously we're excited that he's eager to come back, but we think it's best for him to take a couple days," Cash said.
RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) "felt really good" after two "innings" of live batting practice Saturday. He will throw a bullpen Tuesday, with the potential that he will next return to minor-league game action.
RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) is making progress in his rehab, throwing a second sharp minor-league game Sunday in Port Charlotte, allowing one hit and one walk over two innings and throwing 25 pitches.
ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT: The Rays got a really good start from LHP Drew Smyly, who went six strong innings and allowed just one run, then a really bad finish by RHP Alex Colome, who blew the save and the game, allowing two homers in the ninth leading to a 4-3 walkoff loss to the A's.
That was an unexpected ending, as Colome had converted his first 21 saves, one shy of the team record set by Fernando Rodney in 2012. More so, he had allowed one home run to his past 207 right-handed batters, dating to June 2015, then allowed two in a three-batter span. "Bad day," Colome said.
It was the fourth walkoff loss of this season for the Rays and 17th since the start of 2015, second to the Dodgers' 19. It was the ninth walkoff homer the Rays have given up since hitting their last one, by Sean Rodriguez on May 22, 2014. It was the team's fifth walkoff loss in Oakland in the past five years.
MISCELLANY: 1B Logan Morrison said his right forearm is feeling better since the Thursday cortisone shot to combat tendinitis, but Cash said the team wanted to wait through today's off day before putting him back in the lineup. … OF Steven Souza Jr. snapped an 0-for-13 by hustling for an infield single. … Forsythe's homer, in the eighth inning, was his ninth.