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Miller homers, but Rays' bats quiet in loss

April 1, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash summed up Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Red Sox -- and the Rays' four-game series loss by looking at the team's offense."Just quiet bats," manager Kevin Cash said. "...We're going to get going here eventually."Brad Miller hit his first homer of the season to put

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash summed up Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Red Sox -- and the Rays' four-game series loss by looking at the team's offense.
"Just quiet bats," manager Kevin Cash said. "...We're going to get going here eventually."
Brad Miller hit his first homer of the season to put the Rays up, 1-0, in the second. J.D. Martinez's RBI single in the fifth tied the game before Rafael Devers' RBI single in the sixth gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Sunday's game ended with the Rays threatening, but Denard Span struck out with runners on the corners for the final out.
On Opening Day, the Rays erased a 4-0 lead with a six-run eighth inning. The Red Sox then won the next three games by one run. Of course, the Rays faced three aces in the first three games in Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello, two of whom have won Cy Young Awards in their career. And Sunday's starter Hector Velazquez pitched effectively for 5 2/3 innings.
"Give Velazquez some credit for keeping us off balance," Cash said. "He had a pretty good fastball. He got us to expand out of the zone up quite a bit."

The Rays' offense has totaled nine runs, the second fewest in club history, through four games (In 2011, they scored six). The offense has been held scoreless in 31 of their 35 trips to the plate this season.
Carlos Gomez, who has one of the team's two home runs this season, said the Rays aren't close to being frustrated.
"It's only four games, you know," Gomez said. "Everybody is excited, you know how it is the first week of the season, everybody tries to over-do everything. Some teams start hot and some teams start slow. We had bad luck that we start a little slow. But we have a really good lineup and if we keep it going, we're going to be fine."
Miller, who has the other homer, gave credit to the Red Sox's pitching. In particular the starting pitching, which held the Rays to two runs in 24 innings.
"Coming right out of the gate [and facing] three Cy Young [caliber pitchers] is no easy task," Miller said. "When those guys pitch they just keep you off balance just enough. And they locate well. And their bullpen did a good job, too. I think we had real competitive at-bats."
Cash also credited the Red Sox's pitching staff by saying, "We faced really good pitching [this series]." And he added that he was confident that the Rays' hitters would find their way.
"We have guys who have a track record of hitting and they are going to get going," Cash said.
Wendle save:
The Red Sox scored their first run in the fifth and were on the brink of having a big inning. Rays starter Jake Faria was chased after Martinez's RBI single, and Jose Alvarado took over with runners on first and second. Two outs later, Christian Vazquez grounded sharply to the right side of the infield for what looked like an RBI single. But Rays second baseman Joey Wendle dived to his left to make the grab, then quickly got to his feet to throw out Vazquez at first.

Missed op: With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Matt Duffy stood on first, and Wendle was the batter. Wendle lined a ball into the right-field corner, and Duffy circled the bases. But he was stopped at third by third-base coach Matt Quatraro. That left runners on second and third, and the Rays one run shy of tying the game. Wilson Ramos then flied out to right to end the inning.
"Obviously, I wanted to send him," Quatraro said. "And then, knowing how athletic [Red Sox right-fielder Mookie] Betts is and what a good arm he has, I thought he did a good job of picking it up and getting it in as quickly as he possibly could. When I saw the ball leave his hand, I thought it was going to be on the money to [the cutoff man, second baseman Brock] Holt. And I thought if we go, he's out."

"Probably me being a moron." -- Cash, when asked what led him to putting Yonny Chirinos into a 1-1 game for his Major League debut. Cash chuckled at his remark because Chirinos pitched well, tossing four scoreless frames.

The Rays have a 2.25 ERA through the first four games. Their 10 runs allowed are their fewest in club history through four games.
The Rays travel to New York on Monday afternoon to open a two-game series against the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Yankee Stadium. After using a bullpen day on Saturday night, the Rays will again go to the same format on Monday. Austin Pruitt will toe the rubber and will be followed by any number of Rays relievers.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2004.