ST. PETERSBURG — For much of the afternoon, it looked like the Rays would do enough to win the game.
Early two-run homers by Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena were enough to offset the three runs the Yankees scored in the third inning, when Michael Wacha, in an unusual-for-him-role, came out of the bullpen.
But the 4-3 lead got away in the eighth. Ryan Thompson, who got a huge double play ending a threatening seventh, walked two of the first three hitters in the inning, then allowed a one-out run scoring single to Gleyber Torres.
“Just a little uncharacteristic,’' manager Kevin Cash said. “He couldn’t quite make the adjustment. Thompson has been so reliable for us, comes in and gets the biggest out of the game at that time. ... Then he just kind of lost command or lost the strike-throwing ability to put himself behind.’'
And then the game got away in the 10th, the Rays losing 8-4.
Collin McHugh, the sixth Tampa Bay pitcher, allowed four runs in a messy frame that started with a hit batter (thanks to a replay challenge), then a bloop RBI single by Rougned Odor that dropped just in front of centerfielder Brett Phillips, two more hits and a misplay by rightfielder Manuel Margot.
“It snowballed on us a little bit,’' Cash said. “We played a pretty good ballgame up until then.’'
The Rays lost for the second time in their past five games when leading after seven innings, having gone 25-0 in those situations last season.
Cash said the key was putting too many Yankees on base, with seven walks and two hit batters.
“You’re just not going to keep a team like that, that quiet giving them the free passes,’' he said. ‘”We’ve got to do a better job than that.’’
Thanks, kid, see you soon
As expected, the Rays optioned Brent Honeywell back to their alternate site after his impressive debut, retiring all six batters he faced on 21 pitches. The shuffle is part of a plan to cover bullpen innings and fill injured Chris Archer’s slot in the rotation on Thursday. Trevor Richards is a possibility to join the bullpen, and Josh Fleming the rotation, or maybe the other way around.
Number of the day
Walks and hit batters by Rays pitchers.
Cash said there was no update yet on Archer, who left Saturday’s game with forearm tightness, but they are still optimistic he will have a short stay on the injured list. … Player rep Tyler Glasnow didn’t have an exact breakdown but said the Rays were “close” to having the necessary 85 percent of players, coaches and Tier 1 staff (those in close contact) vaccinated for protocols to be relaxed. Nothing will change immediately, he said, as there’s a two-week waiting period after the final shots.
• Randy Arozarena homered Saturday and Sunday, giving him six in his past nine games (regular season and postseason) against the Yankees. His career-high eight-game hitting streak is the longest to open a season by a Ray since Ben Zobrist hit in eight straight in 2010.
• Rookie infielder Kevin Padlo struck out in all four at-bats, and hasn’t put a ball in play in three games, going 0-for-6 with two walks.
• The Rays will receive their American League championship rings in a closed ceremony prior to batting practice on Monday.
• Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela’s 453-foot homer to center was the longest at the Trop since Willy Adames’ 462-footer in September 2019.
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