ST. PETERSBURG -- When Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to tie the score against the Tigers on Saturday, it was the first time since June 15 that the Rays had come back in a game to at least pull even.That's a run of 16 games.
ST. PETERSBURG -- When Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to tie the score against the Tigers on Saturday, it was the first time since June 15 that the Rays had come back in a game to at least pull even.
That's a run of 16 games. And when the Rays fell behind a second time Saturday, small mistakes and lack of execution prevented Tampa Bay from avoiding a 3-2 loss at Tropicana Field.
"It definitely seems like any mistake or something that works against us seems to turn into a run against us right now," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think the best way we overcome that is go out and ... create the runs ourselves. Give the guys some breathing room."
There was Blake Snell's wild pitch after a Justin Upton double that set up Jarrod Saltalamacchia's key sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Snell also issued a pair of walks in the second inning ahead of Jose Iglesias' RBI single.
The Rays also saw their threat extinguished in the eighth, when Logan Forsythe's double play following Curt Casali's leadoff single erased the potential tying run.
It wasn't the type of game that the Rays had grown accustomed to losing, but the little things did them in and led to their 15th loss in 17 games.
"I thought that we were going to find a way to get there," Cash said. "We just didn't. ... Not a ton of things, obviously, going our way today."
Snell said he wished he had pitched inside more, but his issues with lack of command continued. He battled through it, as he has in most of his starts, lasting 5 1/3 innings and allowing all three runs, including a homer by Ian Kinsler.
"I feel like I needed to pitch more inside, so my offspeed would have played more," Snell said. "But just little things I need to work on."
Friday night, Cash had talked about limiting home runs with guys on base and getting good outings from the bullpen, both of which the Rays accomplished Saturday. But small errors in execution led to this different type of loss.
"We'll show frustration," Cash said. "We all will do that, because we care a lot. But we're not going to set it to where we're hanging heads and we're dragging through nine innings. This team is committed to going out and providing the effort that needs to win Major League games. Unfortunately we're not doing it right now."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.