Rays a mess from the start in 11-2 loss to Nationals that extends losing streak to six

The Rays have lost six in a row.
The Rays' Ryan Yarbrough pitches in the second inning against the Nationals on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. [Getty Images]
The Rays' Ryan Yarbrough pitches in the second inning against the Nationals on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. [Getty Images]
Published June 6, 2018|Updated June 7, 2018

WASHINGTON – For openers, Jonny Venters wasn't very good for the Rays on Wednesday. And that led to the day turning out very bad, a 11-2 loss to the Nationals that extended their latest losing streak to six.

The veteran lefty said he'd treat the assignment of getting the first three to six outs no different than pitching late in the game, but he didn't have anywhere near the same results.

Venters allowed five of the six batters he faced to reach base (three hits and two walks) and by the time he left three had scored, and two others were positioned to shortly. The 5-0 first inning hole was way too big for the Rays to get out of.

Wednesday marked the eighth time the Rays used a game opener, with a 3-5 mark to show for it.

Venters performance could be used to suggest that the Rays drop the plan to use an opener and just led the converted starters who are coming in behind them to take the mound for the first pitch.

But Ryan Yarbrough didn't do too well after Venters, allowing his final two runs (on a single by Nats starter Tanner Roark after the Rays intentionally walked the catcher to load the bases, and then five of his own while working 5 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits.

Offensively, the Rays didn't do much off Roark and the relief crew. Brad Miller had three hits, and C.J. Cron hit his 13th homer, three off his career high.

One moment of note took place in the sixth with the Nats leading 9-2 when Nats outfielder Michael A. Taylor stole third, then scored when catcher Wilson Ramos' throw went wide of the base.

The six-game losing streak is their second longest of the season, following a five-game winning streak. The Rays are 13-13 in a stretch of 40 games in 41 days that began May 11, and are 0-5 in a run of playing 25 of 28 against playoff contenders. They also are 0-7 thus far in interleague play, losing to the Phillies, Braves and Nats.

The Rays headed home after the game, wrapping up a nine-game, 10-day, country-crossing road trip 3-6, and open a four-game series with the Mariners on Thursday night at the Trop. Ryne Stanek will be on the mound, for openers.

Marc Topkin can be reached at Follow @TBTimes_Rays