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Boyd goes 6, but done in by big inning again

Lefty allows 5 ER in 3rd as Tigers fall to Rays
MLB.com @beckjason

ST. PETERSBURG -- A propensity for allowing big innings is dampening what was looking like Matthew Boyd's breakout season.

When Wilson Ramos' opposite-field shot cleared the right-field fence for a three-run homer and a five-run third inning, the Rays had all the offense they needed to send the Tigers to a 5-2 loss Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Part of that was a rough night for the Tigers' offense, which came within three outs of being shut out by the Rays' bullpen before three straight ninth-inning hits brought a pair of runs across.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- A propensity for allowing big innings is dampening what was looking like Matthew Boyd's breakout season.

When Wilson Ramos' opposite-field shot cleared the right-field fence for a three-run homer and a five-run third inning, the Rays had all the offense they needed to send the Tigers to a 5-2 loss Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Part of that was a rough night for the Tigers' offense, which came within three outs of being shut out by the Rays' bullpen before three straight ninth-inning hits brought a pair of runs across.

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Video: DET@TB: Castellanos' scorching RBI double to left

But part of it, too, is the recent puzzle of Boyd, who can go from dominant stretches to quickly damaging ones, and sometimes back again. He retired Tampa Bay's first seven batters, and 10 of his final 11, striking out eight batters in six innings. In between, the Rays turned two singles, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a homer into five runs in a six-batter span.

It marked Boyd's fourth loss in five starts, and he has allowed a three-run inning or worse in each of them. The big inning has accounted for all of his runs, or all but one, in three of those outings.

"Honestly, it is what it is," Boyd said. "Things could have gone a lot differently in that inning. It's just unfortunate that it cost us the game, in that sense. But you don't let one inning ruin it for you.

"It's unfortunate that it cost us, but I made a bad pitch and it was a three-run mistake. And the walk killed me. Outside of that, I made my pitches. That's why it's important to look at the process of how it's done and not focus on the results. Because if you focus on the results, you're going to be really short-sighted in that sense."

The home run has been an ongoing challenge for Boyd, though one he had shut down fairly well for the first two months. Ramos' homer was the sixth Boyd has allowed in his last five starts, matching his total from his previous 13 outings. All six have come with at least one runner on base, starting with Joey Votto's short-porch grand slam last month in Cincinnati.

Pitching with scouts from the Mariners, Phillies, D-backs and Brewers in attendance, Boyd (4-8) retired Tampa Bay's first seven batters before falling behind Carlos Gomez, who took his first walk since June 25.

"A really aggressive hitter that will swing at pitches out of the strike zone," catcher John Hicks said of Gomez. "But he threw him three pitches that weren't competitive. And a guy that's really aggressive like he is is a guy you can't walk. And then, plus, he's a firecracker for them. Once he gets on, he makes things happen."

Gomez stole second base, took off for third on Willy Adames' grounder deep in the hole at short, then kept on running as Jose Iglesias knocked down the ball and was slow to pick it up. Boyd recovered from Kevin Kiermaier's ensuing RBI single to strike out Matt Duffy, but then hit Daniel Robertson to bring up Ramos. Boyd went to his fastball and missed his spot.

Video: DET@TB: Ramos hits 3-run jack that happy kid snatches

"I was just trying to go in and missed away," Boyd said. "Unfortunately, he hit it over the fence. It's a three-run mistake instead of a single or a flyout to right."

The mistake, manager Ron Gardenhire said, was compounded.

"It's the part of the lineup, more than anything else," Gardenhire said. "You get to the part of the lineup where you start trying to be too fine, and then you've got Ramos up there. He wants to get ahead of him and he throws one out and over the plate. The guy's looking to shoot it that way; he's done it to us a couple times in two games. It's just being more aware of what a guy's trying to do."

INJURY REPORT
The Tigers added an injury to their woes when Iglesias took an Adam Kolarek pitch off the base of his left hand and left the game with what the team called a contusion. Jim Adduci pinch-ran and stayed in the game at first base, while Ronny Rodriguez moved from first to short. Gardenhire said the bruise shouldn't sideline Iglesias more than a game or two.

Video: DET@TB: Iglesias gets hit on the hand, exits game

SOUND SMART
Niko Goodrum has hit safely in nine of his 10 games played in July, batting .429 (18-for-42) with six doubles, a triple, home run and six RBIs.

UP NEXT
Jordan Zimmermann (4-0, 3.51 ERA) will try to extend his recent roll and close out his first half strong as the series concludes with a 12:10 p.m. ET game at Tropicana Field. The veteran right-hander has yielded just two runs on 13 hits over 20 innings in his last three starts, walking one and striking out 20. The Rays will deploy a bullpen strategy, with Hunter Wood getting the ball first.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Matthew Boyd