Morton deals, but Rays blanked in finale

Righty throws 6 scoreless, but Iannetta's homer in 11th the difference; TB finishes homestand 5-2

April 3rd, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- Through ten innings, Wednesday’s series finale between the Rockies and Rays was scoreless, and it looked like Tampa Bay would scrap to a sixth straight victory behind another lights-out pitching performance. But in the 11th inning, Chris Iannetta lined a solo home run off , and the Rockies got out of Tropicana Field with a 1-0 win.

That was the only hiccup by the Rays’ pitching staff. Starter delivered his second quality start of the season, striking out six over six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. He threw 88 pitches, 58 of them strikes.

, and all pitched scoreless innings in relief before Roe allowed the game’s lone run. It was just the second run allowed by the Rays’ bullpen this season.

The Tampa Bay offense put some pressure on Rockies starter German Marquez, but it was unable to deliver in key situations. The Rays went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

In the ninth inning, with runners at the corners and one out, the Rockies went to a five-man infield with shortstop at the plate. Colorado put four position players on the left side of the infield, leaving the right side open. Due to the alignment, Rays manager Kevin Cash called for Adames to push a bunt between the pitcher and the first baseman, but Adames went down on strikes without making contact on his bunt attempts.

“The first baseman kind of crashed really hard, but I bet there was going to be more room to play with,” Cash said. “Aggressive call on my part. I had confidence that Willy could do it, but it just didn’t work out.”

Cash said that the decision to bunt came from him, not from Adames.

“Whatever [Cash] says, you have to follow the orders,” Adames said. “That’s my bad.”

Despite the loss, this was a successful first homestand of the season. The Rays opened the season with a 5-2 record, despite facing two playoff teams from 2018 in the Astros and the Rockies. That start is tied with the 2017 team for the club’s best through seven games.

“They’re as good as I was hoping,” Morton said about his new Rays teammates. “This is a really talented, exciting group. That’s a big part of the reason why I wanted to come here. We have a great group here and this is going to be exciting.”

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers the Rays put up during the seven-game homestand:

5: In allowing just one run Wednesday, the Rays set a franchise record by yielding one run or fewer in five consecutive games. They join the Indians from April 7-11, 2018, as the only American League teams to do so since 2012.

0.62: The Rays’ staff allowed just two earned runs in the 29 innings pitched over the three-game set against the Rockies, good for a 0.62 ERA. In the seven games on this homestand, the Rays allowed just 11 runs in 65 innings, leaving them with a league-leading 1.52 ERA through 7 games.

“We can pitch. There’s no denying that,” Cash said. “We’ve got some guys that are coming into their own in their careers, and then we have some established guys that kind of complement them.”

22: The Iannetta home run off Roe snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak by the Rays. Before the home run, the last run allowed by Rays pitching came in the sixth inning of Monday’s 7-1 win.

0: Defense is always a priority for Tampa Bay, and the defense throughout the homestand was as good as it can get. The Rays are one of three teams (Kansas City, Philadelphia) that has yet to commit an error.

“You have to be impressed with the way we pitched and the way we defended this entire homestand,” Cash said.

39: extended his on-base streak to 39 games with a single in the first inning. That ties him with Johnny Damon for the longest on-base streak in franchise history.