It’s never fun to lose. But when you take a big lead early, only to see her escape? They are the worst. But these types of losses are also not indicative of how things will go forward. So breathe. Go for a walk. Stay hydrated. It will be fine.
I don’t think it helped that Shane Baz’s expectations were sky high.
Recently recalled receiver René Pinto also found himself in the starting lineup.
Range of twins.
The Rays took an early lead against Chi Chi Gonzalez. It started with an out, when Margot broke the no no with a single to right center before moving to second on a Celestino bobble. Randy followed with a swinging bunt single, putting runners in the corners for Choi. And Choi put the Rays on the board with a simple ground ball past Gordon short to tag Margot.
Arozarena fought his way to third place, which allowed Choi to move up to second place in throwing. A hard single in the middle by Díaz escaped the half-drawn infield, scoring Randy and Ji-Man.
Staked in the lead, Baz looked great early on, working two clear runs, scoring a few Ks and even helping himself with some crafty play on a line returned by Arraez.
Things fell apart for Shane in the third. Celestino started with a soft liner just above Bruján’s glove. Baz immediately began to struggle with the runners, uncorking a wild pitch and then awarding Gordon a four-length walk. He appeared to find the range against Jeffers, but was denied a strikeout by first base umpire Bill Welke. He ended up walking Jeffers on a full count. Baz then trailed 2-0 to Arraez, who didn’t miss the midfielder and put him in the right seats on the pitch.
While Baz was still looking for the first out, he walked Polanco to a full count. A double against the wall from Miranda scored Polanco, although Miranda stretched it for a triple.
A lengthy challenge ensued as to whether the ball was out of play (it appeared to be snagged on some padding in the middle) but the play was confirmed. Baz’s day was over: 2.1 IP, 5 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts.
The bullpen was (mostly) strong and kept the Rays in the game. Beeks worked a scoreless .2, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two. Raley worked a scoreless inning, although he allowed a few hits. Wisler worked a clean inning. Armstrong worked two scoreless innings, giving up a few hits and a walk while striking out two. And Thompson…well, we’ll get to that in a bit.
The Rays recovered one in the sixth. With two outs and against lefty Caleb Thielbar, Walls ripped a double down the left field line. Ramírez then pinched the shot for Phillips and worked a good at bat before firing a 3-2 curve down the right for a single, scoring Walls.
The Rays really needed a stoppage inning down the frame from Ryan Thompson. They did not understand, although they really tried! Celestino started with a brace from Thompson and moved to third on hard ground to Choi.
With the infield and the Rays desperate for a play, Thompson brought Ryan Jeffers down against Walls. Walls made the home throw to easily catch Celestino at the plate.
Unfortunately, Thompson then gave up the singles to Arraez and Polanco who nullified all good, and it was a two-run game again.
The Rays again scratched to less than one in the seventh against Jharel Cotton. Kiermaier hit a brace into the corner of left field, although he lost the ball for a moment. Margot followed by running aground short, but with a cross past Gordon, the shortstop looked distracted, and his lead shot fumbled, scoring KK.
6-5 Twins, but the Rays wouldn’t come close. They had their chances, but were mostly burned by further failures on the bases.
In the second inning, KK beat the lag for a one-out single and then appeared to have second base robbed. During the examination, he was called because he lost contact with the bag by slipping on it.
Then, in the third, Randy hit another bunt while swinging at third, but got caught ducking and was taken down by Gonzalez.
The biggest that got away came in the fifth. Bruján started with a single, then swept the second. But after a strikeout from KK, Bruján took third place and was caught stealing. The replay showed he might be safe, but the Rays no longer had any challenges. And or of course, Margot would immediately follow that up with a (now unrun) single.
The Rays will try to stave off the sweep tomorrow at two o’clock, with Jeffrey Springs taking on Cole Sands.