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Colome struggles with walks in no-decision

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Colome was hardly overpowering in the Rays' 4-3 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night, as his line score (six innings pitched, four hits, five walks, two strikeouts) will clearly attest.

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Mike Napoli scored two of Boston's runs after reaching via a free pass, but Colome continued to battle throughout his 94-pitch effort, limiting Boston's lineup to just three runs in a quality start that put the Rays in a position to win.

"It wasn't my best start today, but I fought the hitters," said Colome. "I walked Napoli three times, but some of the pitches were close. I was behind in the count, but I can't come down the middle with him. He'll make good swings. Maybe I tried to be too perfect sometimes, but I made good pitches.

"Maybe if I walked nobody, or one or two guys, we would have had a chance to win, like 3-0."

"I wouldn't say it was one of Alex's better outings," said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "The walks killed us tonight, but he did compete pretty well knowing that he didn't have his best command. For a young pitcher to do that is nice to see."

Cash chose to accentuate the positive in the wake of Friday's loss, an approach that has proved effective -- particularly with his youthful starting rotation -- during his team's successful first half.

"A lot of times with young pitchers, it gets out of hand, it gets away from them and then you have no chance of coming back," said Cash. "To Alex's credit, he did come back and make some pitches."

The patience that Cash has afforded Colome is beginning to pay dividends for the Rays. Unable to record a quality start in his first seven outings this season, the 26-year-old right-hander has now recorded three such performances in his last five trips to the hill.

Michael Kolligian is a contributor to
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