ST. PETERSBURG — Logan Forsythe, the Rays' first batter of Sunday's game, reached on a single and eventually scored, racing home from third base after an errant pickoff throw to first by Giants pitcher Jake Peavy.
It wasn't long before those inside Tropicana Field realized that moment was the high-water mark of the day for the offense.
Tampa Bay did not get a hit with a runner in scoring position but had chances, especially during the first two innings when it had runners on the corners on three separate occasions.
The Giants, on the other hand, did hit with runners in scoring position, and that was the difference as the Rays extended their losing streak to four with a 5-1 defeat.
"The big hit, obviously, eluded us," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We had baserunners all over the place in the first two innings and to come out of that with one run, especially in the first, we've got to be able to capitalize on that and we did not. A lot of people say you win the ball games in certain points, and to me that was huge deciding factor."
They Rays were 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position during the three games with the Giants. Tampa Bay is 4-for-49 with RISP in its past five games.
It's a symptom that often undermines the offense during the season, and it cut them good during the second half of what had started out as a pretty good homestand.
The Rays (31-36) are still searching for a winning homestand this season after going 4-5 during the longest one to date.
"It's good to be getting out of here," Cash said.
The offense not only let Giants pitcher Jake Peavy off the ropes, it wasted a good outing by Jake Odorizzi, who allowed four hits and a run in six innings.
The Giants, buoyed by three hits with runners in scoring position in the eighth inning, scored four times to win their eighth straight. Three of those runs were charged to Xavier Cedeno, the latest member of the back end of the Rays bullpen to have an off game.
It really shouldn't have come down to that, but the Rays were 0-for-8 with RISP in the first three innings.
"It's baseball. It happens," DH Steve Pearce said. "We just got to find some way to get the job done. Right now we're not just getting it done."
The Giants were willing to help, committing three errors in the first two innings.
The Rays got creative — for them anyway — in the second inning when Desmond Jennings reached on a bunt single and Hank Conger bunted him over to second base. Forsythe reached on an error and stole second to put two runners in scoring position. But Brad Miller grounded out to end the inning.
The Rays were successful in those situations on the last road trip. They changed their approach at the plate and began grinding through at-bats.
"Hopefully we can get on the road and pick up that approach again," Cash said, "because it's going away from us."