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Rays, Chirinos fall to Rangers, 7-2

Rookie gives up his first runs as Rays bats go quiet against former teammate Matt Moore.
Rays starter Yonny Chirinos leaves in the sixth inning, taking his first career loss as the Rays fell 7-2 to the Rangers on Tuesday. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
Rays starter Yonny Chirinos leaves in the sixth inning, taking his first career loss as the Rays fell 7-2 to the Rangers on Tuesday. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Apr. 18, 2018|Updated Apr. 18, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — For three outings, rookie Yonny Chirinos had been stellar in making a case to join the Rays' starting rotation, not allowing a single run in the first 141/3 innings of his major-league career.

That perfection came to an inevitable end Tuesday night as the first batter of the game scored. And the Rangers, first with three sacrifice flies then with clutch hitting, pulled away to a 7-2 win before an announced crowd of 8,972 at Tropicana Field.

"He's young. He's allowed to have a little hiccup there," manager Kevin Cash said of Chirinos' struggles. "It obviously wasn't his best performance of the year. He'll bounce back for us with the next opportunity. Just couldn't find the zone with the fastball, the split or the slider."

The Rays (4-13), who had 13 hits the night before against Texas in an easy 8-4 win, couldn't get to former Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Moore, pitching against his old team for the first time. Moore came in with an 8.76 ERA but kept the runners on the basepaths early then shut the Rays down.

"I thought Matt threw the ball well," Cash said. "We let him get into a rhythm. We put some pressure early, and he made some big pitches to get out of innings. Matt's done this a long time and pitched well in this ballpark."

Chirinos pitched the longest outing of his short career — 52/3 innings and 89 pitches — but ran into trouble in the fifth. A walk and single set up a sac fly for a 3-1 lead, then Ronald Guzman hit a two-out, two-run double to make it 5-1. Shin-Soo Choo added a solo home run in the sixth to end Chirinos' night.

"It obviously didn't go as well as I wanted it to, but I was glad I was able to go as long as I was," Chirinos said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. "It's not what I was hoping for. … I wasn't expecting that kind of performance, but I just prepare myself for the next outing."

The Rays had two on in the first and second but couldn't score — they hit into inning-ending double plays three times in the first five innings, then again in the eighth. C.J. Cron singled in Daniel Robertson in the third, and Wilson Ramos hit his first homer of the season in the ninth.

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria went 3-for-4 on the night, but the rest of the Rays lineup went 4-for-27. The Rays scored two runs or fewer for the eighth time in their 17 games, dropping to 0-8 when doing so.

Texas, meanwhile, got runners to third quickly then got just enough distance to bring them home. Adrian Beltre, whose rookie year in 1998 was the same as the Rays', had two sacrifice flies and Choo the other. The Rangers won easily despite going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

While the Rays got runners on early against Moore with five hits in the first three innings, he settled down and didn't allow a hit in his last four. When the Rays got two on in the eighth against another former Rays pitcher in reliever Kevin Jepsen, again Cron hit into a double play to end the rally.

Tampa Bay played even more shorthanded Tuesday, with third baseman Matt Duffy (hamstring) joining Brad Miller (groin) and Kevin Kiermaier (thumb) on the disabled list. The replacement lineup included Johnny Field, who made his major-league debut Saturday, and Brandon Snyder, called up to make his Rays debut Tuesday.

The Rays got relief from right-hander Hunter Wood, called up from Durham before the game. He relieved Chirinos in the sixth and stayed in for 21/3 innings, giving up four hits and one run.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.