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Colome stumbles in 9th, takes 2nd loss of '18

Cash still confident in closer despite early-season struggles
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Colome's woes continued Friday night as the Rays closer took his second loss of the season, losing to the Phillies 2-1 at Tropicana Field.

Scott Kingery's one-out double got the Phillies started in the ninth against Colome. After striking out Aaron Altherr, Colome looked as though he'd escape. But Jorge Alfaro snuck a single between third and short to drive home Kingery with the winning run.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Colome's woes continued Friday night as the Rays closer took his second loss of the season, losing to the Phillies 2-1 at Tropicana Field.

Scott Kingery's one-out double got the Phillies started in the ninth against Colome. After striking out Aaron Altherr, Colome looked as though he'd escape. But Jorge Alfaro snuck a single between third and short to drive home Kingery with the winning run.

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"I actually thought he threw the ball better today," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought he threw his fastball up in the zone a little bit more. Just established the fastball to get some chase. Kingery hits the double and Alfaro finds a hole there between [Adeiny Hechavarria] and [Matt Duffy]. All in all, I like the way he's attacking in the zone. He just gave it up."

Colome, who led the Major Leagues with 47 saves in 2017, now has a 10.80 ERA and he's blown two saves. He did not stick around to talk to reporters after the game.

"There were a lot of other things that led into that loss," Cash said. "It doesn't make a ton of sense to say, it was probably a step in the right direction for Alex."

Cash patiently fielded questions about his beleaguered closer, even one about how he would determine if it was time to change closers.

"First and foremost, it would probably be how his command is," Cash said. "And like I said, his command has been good. Alex has done a lot of good things over the last three years. He's allowed, just like anybody else in that clubhouse, to go through some rough stretches. Still, to me, this did not come down to Alex Colome's performance. It was probably our lack of offense and a couple of quirky plays that took place."

None of the plays proved quirkier than the one which allowed the Phillies to score their first run on Carlos Santana's RBI single to right. Rays right fielder Carlos Gomez prepared to field the blooper on one hop to then make a throw to the plate, but the ball landed and bounced in an odd angle away from Gomez.

Mallex Smith accounted for the Rays' lone run with an RBI single in the second.

Video: PHI@TB: Smith lines an RBI single for Rays' first run

On the plus side, Jake Faria started for the Rays and had a nice bounce-back game from his previous start that saw him allow eight runs to the Red Sox in 1 2/3 innings. Friday night, the right-hander allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings.

Video: PHI@TB: Faria limits Phillies to one run, K's seven

Vince Velasquez started for the Phillies and gave up one run on four hits and a walk, striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The run that didn't score: With two outs in the fourth, Duffy batted for the Rays and hit a ball down the right-field line. Joey Wendle took off running and then the unexpected occurred: Phillies right fielder Aaron Altherr dropped the ball. Duffy continued try to get to second while Wendle wheeled around the bases. Altherr's throw to second beat Duffy, who was called out. Unfortunately for the Rays, Duffy got tagged out an instant before Wendle scored.

Video: PHI@TB: Altherr drops ball, throws to second for out

"The first part of the play when nobody's watching is usually where the mistake happens," Duffy said. "For me it was just getting down the line better, and there's no play at second. Once I get to that point, take a peak and get in a rundown."

SOUND SMART
Nine of the Rays' 13 games this season have been decided in one-run fashion (2-7), most in the Major Leagues. The seven losses in one-run games are the most in the Major Leagues.

"We're going to play close ballgames," Cash said. "That's just the way this team is built. Now we have to do a better job of finding ways to win those games."

HE SAID IT
"We've seen Velasquez more than any of their starters. Seems like he's lined up against us in Spring Training the last couple of seasons. He's got a good arm. Has a four-pitch mix. Hasn't thrown many changeups this year. He decided to break it out. It was a good one today." -- Cash on Velasquez.

UP NEXT
The Rays will host the Phillies Saturday night in a 6:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer will make his third start of the season after picking up his first win Monday against the White Sox. The Phillies are one of three opposing teams that Archer has not faced

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays