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Ramirez sharp in return from groin injury

Right-hander fans seven over 5 2/3 innings in loss to Indians

ST. PETERSBURG -- Erasmo Ramirez made a healthy return to the mound Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Rays, the right-hander's work went for naught in the Rays' 6-2 loss to the Indians at Tropicana Field.

"I thought Erasmo was outstanding for having the nine, 10 days off, whatever he had," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He was really sharp. He probably ran out of gas, but he got us the length, kind of what we needed."

Ramirez had not pitched since June 20 in Cleveland due to a right groin strain. Given the Rays' injury-riddled season, the fact that Ramirez did not go on the disabled list was just short of miraculous. The Rays were fortunate in that vein by being able to take advantage of last week's day off to delay Ramirez's next start.

After he threw a bullpen session on Friday, Ramirez was given the go-ahead for Tuesday night's start.

"When you get to the first inning, you just, the only thing you have in your mind is just go attack the hitters and get out of the inning as quick as possible and try to just get deep in the game," Ramirez said.

Ramirez headed into the game on a roll, posting a 6-1 mark in eight starts. And he continued that roll Tuesday night, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out seven. The only blemish on his line came when Jason Kipnis hit a solo home run in the third.

"I was throwing [a] two-seam [fastball] to that hitter, and maybe that was a little mistake for me," Ramirez said.

Kipnis' blast gave the Indians a 1-0 lead and managed to hand Ramirez his third loss of the season, and his first loss since May 24 against the Athletics.

Ramirez dropped his ERA from 4.23 to a season-low 4.01, which is remarkable given the fact he began the season with a 25.31 ERA through two appearances (one start).

The game got out of hand after Ramirez got lifted with two out in the sixth. Rays relievers surrendered a three-run homer to Giovanny Urshela and a two-run homer to David Murphy in the 3 1/3 innings following Ramirez's departure. Ramirez did not question the decision to take him out of the game.

"Maybe they were thinking of putting some limits on my pitch count and just, I don't know, every time they ask me about if I want to go out, I'm just gonna say yes," Ramirez said. "Because I was feeling good and I just want to go deep in the game.

"Just one mistake to a great hitter, he made me pay for that, but I just take everything overall. I feel good, good to be back to the mound."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for Listen to his podcast.
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Erasmo Ramirez