Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shut out by Mariners for second straight day, 3-0

ST. PETERSBURG — Not even a Seminole rainmaker can fix the problems plaguing the Rays.

The latest part of their freefall was Monday's 3-0 loss to the Mariners, where Tampa Bay was shut out for the second time in a row against a starter who entered the game with a 6.82 ERA.

The 13th loss in 14 games dug the Rays even deeper into a position they have rarely been in recently.

The worst team in baseball.

"We've absolutely earned that title right now," manager Joe Maddon said.

Monday's defeat, in front of 10,400 at Tropicana Field, continued the worst start of Maddon's tenure and followed the familiar script: Allowing one big inning on defense to do in an invisible offense.

The Mariners did their damage in the third. David Price gave up two singles, and James Jones dropped a bunt to first base, but neither Ben Zobrist nor James Loney covered the bag.

"He couldn't have rolled it out there any better than he did," Maddon said.

Then Price made one of the few mistakes of his 10-strikeout, one-walk afternoon.

With the bases loaded, Price left an 0-and-2 fastball up to Robinson Cano, and the AL's second-best hitter took it to leftfield for a two-run double. Stefen Romero followed with an RBI grounder to give the Rays their majors-worst 41st inning with at least three runs allowed. They fell to 4-28 in games where they've given up at least one such frame.

"It is tough to fathom what's going on here right now," Price said.

Price was otherwise strong in eight innings, but the league's least productive offense couldn't bail him out.

Seattle's Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed 15 earned runs over his previous four starts, pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings. He has made only three scoreless starts in his career — and two have come against Tampa Bay.

The Rays (24-41) stranded two in the third, fourth and fifth and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the seventh. They have only 10 hits in their past 95 at-bats with runners in scoring position and have been shut out in four of their past nine games.

"At some point we have to get our bats alive," Maddon said.

Maddon is adamant that an offense mired in a 19-inning scoreless streak will turn around, but he's not sure how. He said he's tried everything "A to Z," including putting Desmond Jennings and Kevin Kiermaier at the top of the order.

With little working, Maddon summoned Bobby Henry, a 77-year-old rainmaker from the Seminole Tribe, to work some magic with a routine that included sprinkling water on players' locker-room chairs.

"That didn't work," Price said. "I don't know. Maybe it's time for something crazy to go on in the clubhouse."

Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MBakerTBTimes.

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