ST. PETERSBURG -- Too little, too late, but the Rays made things interesting at the end of a 5-4 loss to the Mariners on Thursday night at Tropicana Field."Well, somehow we have to figure out a way to win a ballgame," said manager Kevin Cash, whose club has lost seven
ST. PETERSBURG -- Too little, too late, but the Rays made things interesting at the end of a 5-4 loss to the Mariners on Thursday night at Tropicana Field.
"Well, somehow we have to figure out a way to win a ballgame," said manager Kevin Cash, whose club has lost seven straight. "Tonight probably wasn't the right recipe. ... We have to make some adjustments at the plate, and on the mound. And we're capable of it. We'll bounce back."
The Mariners took a 5-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth. That's when the Rays got busy.
Wilson Ramos hit a leadoff double against Mike Leake, who had allowed just one run -- Daniel Robertson's seventh homer of the season, through eight innings. Seattle opted to go to a familiar face in reliever Alex Colome. The former Rays closer retired Matt Duffy on a groundout and struck out Jake Bauers for the second out before things got interesting.
Colome hit Carlos Gomez and Mallex Smith singled to load the bases for Johnny Field, who cleared the bases with a double to make it a one-run game. But Colome, who made a lot of games interesting this season before the Mariners acquired him in a trade two weeks earlier, recovered to get Robertson on a groundout to end the game.
Little goes right when a team finds itself in a funk, and the baseball gods seemed to have a bone to pick with the Rays in this one.
Like in the second, when the Mariners got three squib singles through the vacated right side of the infield. On the third of those hits, right fielder Carlos Gomez threw to Robertson, the shortstop, covering second. Meanwhile, David Freitas raced home to score the Mariners' third run.
Igniting that three-run inning was none other than Denard Span, who led off with a walk against Austin Pruitt. Of course, Span had been a Ray two weeks earlier before getting traded to the Mariners. He added a solo home run in the top of the third, effectively biting the hand that once fed him.
Finally, Bauers made his much-heralded Major League debut for the Rays, hitting the ball on the screws his first three at-bats -- right at perfectly placed defenders.
"Baseball's a funny sport, man," Field said. "Sometimes you can be playing well and things don't go your way. And visa versa. Today, they were kind of getting jammed and fisting some balls that found holes. But we're playing hard, and playing until the end. You just have to try and stay positive, even during losing streaks like this."
Despite the loss, Cash liked what he saw in the ninth inning.
"Hopefully we can take that as a silver lining a little bit, because there hasn't been much lately for sure," Cash said. "When you lose six or seven in a row like we have, you have to find some positives. To do that against Alex is good. We were one hit away from tying it up. Obviously, Johnny Field came up, really capitalized on an opportunity with the bases loaded. So we need something like that to carry us over into tomorrow."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
After striking out the first batter of the game, Ryne Stanek found trouble. Jean Segura singled, then Stanek walked Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz to load the bases. Just the day before, Jonny Venters had served as the "opener" for the Rays, and he allowed five first-inning runs to the Nationals. The script felt eerily familiar. But Stanek recovered to strike out Kyle Seager swinging before retiring Ryon Healy on a groundout to first to end the threat.
HE SAID IT
"Just impressed with the overall confidence." -- Cash, on Bauers' debut
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Dee Gordon initially had a steal of second base with two outs in the fourth, but the Rays challenged and the safe call was overturned for a 2-4 caught stealing.
Right-hander Wilmer Font will make his first Major League start at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday when the Rays take on the Mariners at Tropicana Field. Since joining Tampa Bay, Font has a 1.50 ERA in four appearances, three of which have been scoreless. He'll serve as the Rays' "opener" and won't pitch more than two innings. Lefty Marco Gonzales will start for the Mariners.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.