The Rays had a lot to overcome Saturday afternoon in Oakland.
Catcher Francisco Mejia went on the injured list before the game. Starter Tyler Glasnow put them in an early hole, allowing three runs on two homers in two of his “worst” innings. Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier left the game with a left wrist sprain that may sideline him for a while.
Yet there the Rays were in the eighth inning, closing the gap on the A’s to one run, with momentum on their side.
And there they went, allowing two runs after a throwing error by first baseman Mike Brosseau on what should have been the third out in the eighth, then loading the bases to start their ninth — but getting nothing out of it and ending up with a 6-3 loss.
“Yeah, it was frustrating,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We worked really hard late in the ballgame to kind of make a comeback and kept tacking on. They got one across and we’d get one back.
“You’ve just got to be really clean in those innings. And unfortunately we weren’t. But happy with the way the guys are competing. Totally understand and recognize the hitting is going to come around, it’s just been kind of quiet here lately.”
After a five-game win streak, it was a rough 24 hours for the Rays, as they lost on a walkoff homer Friday night after being perfect-gamed through six innings and no-hit until the eighth. With the latest loss, they dropped to 18-17 heading into Sunday’s finale of the week-long West Coast trip and the rugged stretch of 30 games in 31 days.
As badly as Glasnow started, he ended up pitching pretty well by working into the sixth.
He walked leadoff man Mark Canha, then allowed a first-pitch fastball homer to Seth Brown, who also went deep on the last swing Friday. After needing 30 pitches to get through the first inning, Glasnow gave up another first-pitch fastball homer with one out in the second to Austin Allen.
He deduced the A’s must have realized, as he did, that the fastball was the only one of his four pitches working early and were waiting for it.
“Out of synch. Not very good. Definitely my two worst innings,” Glasnow said. “Not a lot of rhythm there. I think the only option I had in terms of timing, what I was comfortable with, was the fastball.”
Glasnow made some adjustments and settled down after that, retiring 13 of the next 15 with two walks, and getting two outs into the sixth, with 11 strikeouts in the scorebook, when Cash decided 101 pitches were enough.
“There’d be more satisfaction if I finished the sixth,” Glasnow said. “But I think there’s some positives to take from it for sure.”
Cash thought so, saying he was happy, pleased and “really, really encouraged” with how Glasnow threw.
The reviews may not be as good from the pitcher’s mom, who chastised him previously for cursing too much, as his dissatisfaction over being taken out was audible on the TV broadcast. “We’ll see my phone,” Glasnow said.
Brandon Lowe’s two-run homer in the sixth, his third in nine games and sixth overall, got the Rays to within a run. After the A’s added on, a two-out RBI single in the eighth by Mike Zunino got them back to 4-3. But a messy eighth by relievers Hunter Strickland and Ryan Thompson, and Brosseau’s off-target throw to first led to two more A’s runs.
And after Brett Phillips (single), Randy Arozarena (hit by pitch) and Austin Meadows (walk) reached to start the ninth off Lou Trivino, Yandy Diaz flied out, Lowe struck out and Joey Wendle grounded out.
Frustrating? “All losses suck,” Lowe said. “So hard to say one’s worse than the other, especially right now.”
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