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Rays drop eighth straight in loss to Mariners

Cron's late 2-run homer narrows gap, but Tampa Bay can't complete comeback
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's streak marches on.

After losing, 4-3, to the Mariners on Friday night, the Rays have dropped eight consecutive games, tying their longest losing streak of the season and leaving them one shy of the longest in the Major Leagues this season -- a distinction that belongs to the Royals, who lost nine straight from April 10-20.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's streak marches on.

After losing, 4-3, to the Mariners on Friday night, the Rays have dropped eight consecutive games, tying their longest losing streak of the season and leaving them one shy of the longest in the Major Leagues this season -- a distinction that belongs to the Royals, who lost nine straight from April 10-20.

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During the streak, the Rays have held the lead in only one of the eight games as they've watched their record fall from 28-26 -- a season-high two games over .500 -- to 28-34, the first time they have been six games below .500 since April 21.

"Unfortunately a little more of the same," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The bats went really quiet. And then we put pressure on them at the end, but we have to find a way to score some runs earlier. For whatever reason, this team, and this pitching staff, the Mariners have really done a good job against us. We've got two games to kind of correct the situation.

"... Obviously, we've got some guys who are pressing. Probably one through nine are pressing. And everybody's trying to do a little too much. We've seen this before, and [I'm] confident the guys will get out of it."

Video: SEA@TB: Field battles lights for a sliding catch

The Rays are batting .213 (58-for-272) during the losing streak, including .163 (8-for-49) with runners in scoring position.

"Generally, I think the way these guys have played, they've kind of stayed out of -- other than the beginning of the year -- these big funks," Cash said. "But it's tough to deny that we're probably in one of those a little bit right now."

Wilmer Font opened for the Rays, becoming the 13th different starter the Rays have used this season, and the right-hander posted two scoreless innings before walking the leadoff batter, Ben Gamel, to start the third. Back-to-back singles by Guillermo Heredia and Daniel Vogelbach followed, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Font then struck out Dee Gordon for the first out before Matt Andriese took over. Jean Segura grounded out to drive home Heredia for a two-run Mariners lead.

Tampa Bay tried to answer in the bottom half of the inning when it loaded the bases with two outs. But Marco Gonzales struck out Matt Duffy swinging to end the threat. Seattle then got back to work. Heredia grounded into a force out to drive in a run in the fourth, and Mitch Haniger singled home a run in the fifth to push the lead to 4-0.

Christian Arroyo hit his first homer as a Ray in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-1. C.J. Cron added a two-run homer in the eighth off Alex Colome, giving Cron his 14th homer of the season and cutting the lead to 4-3.

Video: SEA@TB: Cron launches a 2-run homer to left field

"It's tough," Arroyo said of the losing streak. "We've played some good teams. The Mariners have been on a roll. We played a good Nationals team. It's just kind of a part of baseball. We're going to come out and keep grinding. Keep getting better. We know it's going to flip around. We have good talent in here. It's just one of those things. It's baseball. … We know we'll be fine. We're excited to go out tomorrow, break that streak, and get a W."

SOUND SMART
Arroyo became the sixth player born in Tampa to homer for the Rays, joining Fred McGriff, Matt Joyce, Tino Martinez, Ozzie Timmons and Cash.

"It was special. I was just trying to put a good swing on a pitch in the zone," Arroyo said.

BAD NUMBERS
Over the eight-game losing streak, the Rays have trailed at the end of 56 innings, been tied after 16 innings, and have led after four innings.

Video: SEA@TB: Smith dives to beat Gonzales to the bag

HE SAID IT
"It is frustrating. And the reason it's frustrating is that we've been so good at that all year." -- Cash, on the Rays' failure to turn double plays at crucial times in Friday night's loss.

UP NEXT
Blake Snell will start for the Rays when they play the Mariners Saturday in a 4:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. To date, Snell has been the Rays' best and most consistent pitcher. He dominated the Mariners on Sunday when he allowed no runs on two hits while striking out 12 and walking none in six innings. He's 3-1 with a 0.86 ERA at Tropicana Field this season. Felix Hernandez will start for the Mariners.

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

Tampa Bay Rays