This was not the Rays Way.
The Rays let the game slip away with some shaky defense. For the first time in nearly five weeks, they were beaten by more than two runs. They did not rally on the road at Chicago. In fact, for only the third time all season, they were shut out.
Utilizing seven solid innings by left-hander Dallas Keuchel, the White Sox subdued the Rays 3-0 on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field and ended a four-game win streak.
“We didn’t create a whole lot of momentum, hardly at all through the whole game,” Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “For the most part, the bats were quiet tonight. Sometimes that happens, even to a good team like us.”
The Rays finally put something together in the ninth inning off closer Liam Hendriks, getting one-out singles from Yandy Diaz and pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi. But Hendriks promptly struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle. Once again, nothing doing.
Maybe it wasn’t a particularly unusual sight for a nondescript effort during a 162-game season. But for the Rays, after a rip-roaring month, it was just unusual.
“Our offense has been on a tremendous roll,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It shows how good our offense has been, but it also speaks to Dallas Keuchel and the (White Sox) relievers.”
The Rays (43-25), still with baseball’s best record, got a decent outing from left-hander Shane McClanahan (2-2), who surrendered three runs on seven hits over five innings. On a night when the Rays’ offense offered next to nothing, it wasn’t enough.
The White Sox got all the runs they needed with a two-run fourth inning, but McClanahan should have escaped.
McClanahan gave up a walk and a single, but there were two outs when Danny Mendick slammed a hard single to leftfield. Randy Arozarena fielded it cleanly and unleashed a perfect one-hop throw to the plate, a few steps ahead of baserunner Andrew Vaughn. But the ball hopped awkwardly through the legs of catcher Francisco Mejia and Vaughn scored (an error was actually charged to Arozarena).
“Randy made a good throw, but that’s a tough play for a catcher,” Cash said. “Frankie (Mejia) thought it was going to stay up and it went down. The hop kind of spiked down.”
McClanahan, meanwhile, was slow to react in backing up the errant throw. Leury Garcia also scored, chugging all the way from first base, and it was 2-0.
“I didn’t get back there fast enough,” said McClanahan, who was much better than his previous two starts (seven runs allowed in 6.1 combined innings). “I was back there, but I wasn’t in the right position. It kind of caught me off-guard when it got through. I should’ve been there to make the play, and I just wasn’t there.
“It was just a tough play. It could’ve gone either way. It happens. Frankie battles his butt off every single night.”
In the fifth, Adam Engel ambushed McClanahan’s opening pitch for a solo homer.
And that was that.
Keuchel (6-4) gave up four hits over seven innings, walking none and striking out five. Overall, the Rays were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and were twice thwarted with a runner at third base. That was one of many statistical anomalies.
Strange but true: It was the first time for the Rays to be shut out on the road since June 17, 2019 (Yankee Stadium).
Strange but true: It was the first time for the Rays to lose a game by more than two runs since May 8 (when the A’s prevailed 6-3).
Strange but true: During a 24-5 run since May 13, the Rays had outscored opponents 179-90 and lost those five games by a combined seven runs.
Strange but true: The Rays couldn’t add to their MLB-best 24-10 road record.
This was a different night.
And definitely not the Rays Way.
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