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Rays lose lead in ninth, fall to Mets (w/video)

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) looks to the scoreboard as manager Kevin Cash (16) makes his way to the mound in the seventh inning of the game between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 7, 2015.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) looks to the scoreboard as manager Kevin Cash (16) makes his way to the mound in the seventh inning of the game between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 7, 2015.
Published Aug. 8, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Mets seemed to follow the Rays' blueprint for success: a strong night by starter Jake Odorizzi, some dazzling defense and enough offense to hand a lead over to the bullpen.

The problem came with back-to-back miscues by relievers Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger that resulted in a second consecutive heartbreaking loss, after Wednesday's walkoff defeat in Chicago.

"They sometimes appear invincible," manager Kevin Cash said, "and they're not."

Their stumbles spoiled another dominant start by Odorizzi, in front of a spirited and divided crowd of 23,145 at Tropicana Field.

Odorizzi struck out six and got help when Grady Sizemore made a leaping catch at the short leftfield wall to rob Wilmer Flores of a home run and come down with a play that Odorizzi called one of the best he has ever seen in person. Odorizzi allowed fewer than two runs for the seventh time in his eight home starts but settled for a no-decision for the Rays (54-56).

"This one hurts, for sure," Odorizzi said.

Odorizzi blamed himself, too, for the solo home run that Juan Uribe crushed in the seventh inning. Odorizzi lobbied to stay in to get the final out in the inning, but with what happened next, it wouldn't have mattered.

McGee got two quick outs in the eighth and jumped ahead in the count on David Murphy. But a 96 mph fastball intended to go up and away went across the plate, and Murphy blasted it to tie the score at 2.

"Bad location on my part," McGee said.

The collapse continued in the ninth with Boxberger, even after Evan Longoria gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the eighth with his 13th home run of the year and his fourth in his past 11 games.

The Rays' All-Star reliever earned his eighth loss — most among major-league relievers — when his ninth inning quickly derailed. Boxberger fielded a leadoff grounder from Lucas Duda but rushed a throw that went wide to first base. He tried to get a double-play ball but spiked a wild pitch to move the tying run to second.

"I didn't feel like I had everything," Boxberger said, "but I definitely had enough to try to get through it."

Michael Conforto's RBI double tied the score after that, and Flores lined a single to right that brought home the deciding run — and help the Mets win while overcoming deficits in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings for the first time in club history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"You've got to credit them," Cash said. "They got their hits when they needed to."

And the Rays did not.

After James Loney's 99th career home run put the Rays ahead in the seventh, they loaded the bases, thanks in part to a double that extended Asdrubal Cabrera's hitting streak to 10 games. Then John Jaso struck out to end the threat.

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The Rays got the tying run to second in the ninth, but Curt Casali struck out to leave him stranded and leave the Rays scrambling to explain a second consecutive deflating loss.