ST. PETERSBURG — There were a lot of things that didn't go right Tuesday night for the Rays, chief among them their inability to get a hit during the three occasions they loaded the bases.
That caused the most damage in the 4-2 loss to the White Sox.
Starter Chris Archer chose to focus on the first thing to go wrong, which was the low line drive White Sox second baseman Yolmer Sanchez hit to centerfield on the fourth pitch of the game.
The play did not decide the game, but it was a frustrating start to what became another frustrating loss, this one a carbon copy of so many this season: a solid outing by the starter undermined by the offense (1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 11 left on base) and a bullpen that couldn't keep it close.
It added up to a season-high fourth straight loss for the Rays, who are now two games under .500 at 29-31.
The ball Sanchez hit sliced back on centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, taking a hard left turn as if it struck something, which is what the umpires ruled.
The ball bounced past Kiermaier and to the wall. Sanchez stopped at third with what he thought was a triple. The umpires ruled it a home run, and the call withstood a crew chief review.
"I saw a routine fly ball that didn't even get to the warning track," Archer said. "Definitely the shortest home run probably in major-league history."
According to StatCast, the apex of the line drive was 63 feet.
"We don't have anything in Tropicana Field that's 63 feet off the ground," Archer said. "There's just a lot wrong with it. One run that early in the game is pretty critical. Pretty unfortunate that the call was not at least overturned. The guys on the field, they do their best. We have replay for a reason. It's unfortunate that is wasn't overturned."
Archer eventually called the umps' failure to overturn their call "a bit ridiculous for me in my opinion."
Also, Archer is not a fan of the dome and the skeletal structure that holds it up.
"I feel like every game is affected by the roof, to some capacity, whether it's something getting hit off it or somebody's losing it, misplay or whatever the case may be," Archer said.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said he was told by the umpires that the ball struck one of the lower catwalks, which makes it an automatic home run.
"It wasn't a home run," Cash said.
But Cash didn't blame the loss on that play. He reasoned that with the leadoff runner on third, there was a good chance the White Sox would get a run, anyway.
"It was just irritating," Cash said.
That's what happens during losing streaks.
Kiermaier, who has struggled defensively at home, said he lost the ball in the roof.
"I have no idea why it was called a homer," Kiermaier said. "It was hit 30 feet off the ground. There's no way that was a homer and no way it came close to hitting anything. I was baffled with their decision-making."
As for the rest of the game, Archer struck out 11 and allowed just two runs in seven innings. The second came on a long homer to left in the seventh by Avisail Garcia.
Tommy Hunter and Ryan Garton allowed a run each.
Jesus Sucre's sacrifice fly in the eighth produced the only run during the three innings in which the Rays loaded the bases.
The Rays lost again when facing a left-handed starter.
"We let (Archer) down," said Logan Morrison, who looked at a third strike to end the fifth with the bases loaded. "I told him the other day that he'd be the stopper, and he was. We just couldn't get any runs across to help him out."