ST. PETERSBURG -- Yonny Chirinos is human, after all. The Rangers drove home that point in a 7-2 win over the Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.Until Tuesday night, the rookie right-hander had not been scored upon in 14 1/3 innings spread over three outings. But the Rangers quickly
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yonny Chirinos is human, after all. The Rangers drove home that point in a 7-2 win over the Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
Until Tuesday night, the rookie right-hander had not been scored upon in 14 1/3 innings spread over three outings. But the Rangers quickly ended any suspense about whether Chirinos could extend his scoreless streak when they took a 1-0 lead in the first.
The Rangers scored again in the second, but the way Chirinos had limited the damage to that point gave the Rays a chance to climb back into the game. He survived a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first, then surrendered three Rangers hits in the second, yet he trailed only 2-0.
Chirinos followed with scoreless frames in the third and fourth innings -- including a nine-pitch fourth, and the Rays trailed just 2-1 after four.
But the dam burst for Chirinos in the fifth, when he needed 25 pitches to get three outs and got touched for three runs, including Ronald Guzman's two-run double. Shin-Soo Choo finally chased the righty with a solo home run in the sixth.
"I was attacking the hitters too early," Chirinos said. "And that got me into trouble a little bit. I tried a little too hard. But I learned from that and I'll be ready to go in my next outing."
Rays manager Kevin Cash cited a lack of command.
"When he came out of the bullpen, I asked [pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] how he warmed up," Cash said. "And he said he was a little erratic, more than what we've seen in the past.
"He's young, he's allowed to have a little hiccup there. I thought he did a nice job battling up until about the fifth inning, until his pitch count got up and they made some adjustments on him. Got some big hits."
The rookie's line showed six earned runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. His immaculate ERA went from 0.00 to 2.70. Along the way, he threw a career high 89 pitches.
"In theory, now we have him built up," said Cash, which should fuel speculation that Chirinos will soon officially be a part of the rotation. "[It depends] on what route we take with the fourth starter. He's capable on five days of going 100-plus pitches."
Former Ray Matt Moore silenced the Rays' bats for seven innings. Tampa Bay's only run against the left-hander came in the third on a throwing error by Rangers shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
"I thought Matt threw the ball well," Cash said. "He got in a rhythm. We let him kind of get into a rhythm. We put some pressure on him early. He made some big pitches to get out of innings. A couple of double plays that really favored him.
"But Matt's done this a long time. He's pitched well at this ballpark. It's probably a comfort for him. He threw the ball well. It's good to see, other than the fact it came against us."
Wilson Ramos' solo home run in the bottom of the ninth equaled the final margin.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chirinos' luck runs out: Chirinos had dodged crooked numbers the entire game, and he appeared like he might do so again in the fifth when he retired Adrian Beltre on a sacrifice fly for the second out. That brought Joey Gallo to the plate, and the Rangers slugger walked on six pitches. Guzman followed with a two-run double.
"That was a tough part in the game, facing Gallo," Chirinos said. "I had a tough time locating the sinker as well as I usually have been. But that definitely was a tough part of the game that got me where I was."
Tuesday night's start by Chirinos marked the third time this season a Rays pitcher yielded six earned runs or more, following Chris Archer on Saturday against the Phillies and Jake Faria on April 7 at Boston.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Robertson loses grip: Rays leadoff hitter Daniel Robertson had the Rangers up in arms in his first at-bat of the game. Not once but twice, Robertson lost the grip on his bat swinging at pitches. Both times the bat sailed in the direction of the Rangers dugout. Nobody was hurt, but Martin Perez suggested that Bartolo Colon put on a helmet.
"It's all fun and games," said Robertson of the Rangers' reaction. "That's what's going to happen whenever that stuff happens. I just try to laugh it off. Done it my whole life, so it's really no story, or answer, or question why I do it."
HE SAID IT
"We don't like to pitch him in that situation. He wanted to pitch. We needed him to pitch. Hopefully, that's a little bit of a confidence boost. I don't think Alex is lacking too much confidence, being the type of pitcher he's been the past couple of years. But it's always good to go out there and get three outs with nobody scoring." -- Cash, on using struggling closer Alex Colome in a non-save situation
The Rays close out their three-game series with the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon with a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Facing Cole Hamels, Faria will start for the Rays, hoping to build in his last outing against the Phillies, when he allowed one run on two hits, walking two and striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.