ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays already had surrendered four home runs in their two-game series against the Brewers by the time reliever Calvin Faucher had Milwaukee’s Rowdy Tellez with two strikes in the eighth inning of a 3-3 game Wednesday.
Then Tellez connected on Faucher’s fourth pitch of the at-bat, sending a curveball off Tropicana Field’s C-ring catwalk for his second homer of the game to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead.
The Brewers hit six home runs across their two wins, including four in a 5-3 win Wednesday, to become the first team to sweep the Rays (40-34) at home since the Red Sox in April 2019. The Rays had the longest streak in the majors without a home sweep of any length.
The Rays were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine in the game.
“It’s just not going to get it done,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ve got to find ways to give our pitchers some more runs.”
As for the Brewers’ home run success, “You don’t anticipate the home runs,” Cash said. “But you go back and look at the pitches, and you understand why they got ahold of them.”
Two of them — Tellez’s second and Luis Urias’ homer in the fifth — came on two-strike counts, and Tellez hit his first in the second inning off a Jalen Beeks fastball in the center of the strike zone.
Beeks, the opener on a bullpen day, had his trouble in the second continue after Tellez’s home run. He allowed a double to Mike Brosseau that one-hopped the wall, and he hit Victor Caratini to put runners on first and second with no outs. But after a mound visit, Beeks struck out three consecutive hitters to escape the jam.
That was all the scoring either team managed until the fourth, when the Rays’ Randy Arozarena walked and Harold Ramirez bounced a single to right. They executed a double steal, giving the Rays two runners in scoring position. Taylor Walls lifted a ball to shallow right-center, and the ball popped off the top of Jace Peterson’s glove. Arozarena and Ramirez scored to give the Rays a 2-1 lead and put Walls at second.
When the ball left his bat, Walls said, he thought there was “no chance” it would fall for a hit. Then he saw how far away Peterson was and knew he had a shot.
“Sometimes you hit it hard and you hit it right at them,” Walls said. “Sometimes you hit it soft and it finds a hole. Fortunate that it was one of those.”
In the top of the fifth, Rays reliever Shawn Armstrong — the third pitcher of the day — crouched and stared as Urias turned an 0-2 fastball into a two-out, two-run homer off the C-ring to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
“(The) more homers they hit, the more runs they’re going to put up,” Walls said. “We’ve got to do our best to try to respond and put up more than they do. We didn’t do that.”
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In the bottom of the inning, the Rays tied the score at 3 after Vidal Brujan walked and Wander Franco hit an RBI double down the third-base line. The Rays stranded Franco when reliever Jandel Gustave struck out Josh Lowe and induced an infield popup by Ramirez.
Tellez’s homer in the eighth put the Brewers up 4-3.
The Rays had a chance to tie in the bottom of the eighth. Two walks gave them runners on first and second with two out, but Walls struck out when he attempted to check his swing.
After a Peterson homer in the top of the ninth extended the Brewers’ lead to 5-3, the Rays brought the winning run to the plate with no outs and runners on first and second. Flyouts from Yandy Diaz, Franco and Lowe ended the game.
Contact Andrew Crane at email@example.com. Follow @CraneAndrew.
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