ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have to hope that days like Sunday, when they are trying to hold their rotation together, are soon over.
After the Brewers jumped on opener Jalen Beeks and fill-in bulk man Cooper Criswell early, even with Josh Lowe’s four RBIs, the Rays could not dig themselves out of the hole.
With former Rays shortstop Willy Adames starting the Brewers’ offense, Milwaukee used three home runs to beat Tampa Bay 6-4 in front of 20,193 at Tropicana Field.
The loss dropped the Rays to 34-14 and 21-4 at Tropicana Field. It also cut their lead in the very competitive American League East to just 2 1/2 games over the Orioles with the division rival Blue Jays coming into Tropicana Field on Monday.
The news about 700 miles to the north, however, was more hopeful for the Rays.
For Triple-A Durham, Tyler Glasnow got through what will likely be his last minor-league rehab start smoothly. He allowed a run on two hits, including a home run, over 6 ⅔ innings. He walked two and struck out six, throwing 67 pitches on the day.
“Encouraged by that,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Got him the sixth up, so I would expect if he comes in feeling good, then we’ll be talking about getting him to join us at some point.”
If all stays on course, Glasnow could be expected back in the rotation before the end of this homestand.
After losing Jeffrey Springs, out for the season because of Tommy John surgery, and Drew Rasmussen, on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow flexor strain, the Rays rotation could use another front-line starter. That would also help settle the bullpen.
“We view him as just really talented, obviously, with what he’s done,” Cash said. " To get him healthy and see if we can get him on a run consistently where we can pencil that in every fifth or sixth day, it will help a lot.”
Sunday, the Rays could have used some pitching help. Beeks allowed one run, a solo homer, walked two and struck out three in two innings of work as the opener.
Adames homered off Beeks, and Rowdy Tellez and William Contreras homered off Criswell. The right-hander, who was making his third appearance with the Rays this season, went 4 ⅔ innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk.
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“I think after the Tellez home run, he did a nice job of getting back in the zone. But Milwaukee seemed like they had a pretty good approach against him,” Cash said. “Contreras got a hold of the ball pretty good. And a couple of those balls certainly found holes, but the two home runs were big ones.”
The Rays had a big home run themselves.
Lowe crushed a three-run homer off Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. The 367-foot laser to rightfield was his 11th home run of the season, tying him for the team lead with Yandy Diaz.
The Rays’ young slugger has shown that this is not just a hot start to the season, but that he can maintain it.
“He’s having a really solid season. He’s putting it together,” Cash said. “Just good at-bats, making adjustments. I don’t think (Freddy) Peralta threw many sliders, according to (hitting coach Chad Mottola) and the first one he breaks out, Josh is covering it pretty well. So a big hit in the moment, no doubt. We just needed more of them.”
Sunday, he was the Rays’ hottest bat and only real offense.
Lowe tried to rally the Rays again in the eighth when the Rays had the bases loaded against USF product Peter Strzelecki. He singled in a run, but the Brewers brought in closer Devin Williams, who ended the threat and picked up the four-out save.
“I felt pretty good about our chances,” Lowe said. “Even if we’re down 10-0 against a team. We’ve been saying this team’s relentless. We put together good at-bats there and we know we had a chance to tie the game but we just didn’t get to that.”
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