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Road-weary Rays ready to head home

MLB.com @DougMillerMLB

SEATTLE -- The Rays left Safeco Field with some things to ponder for what was setting up to be a literal and figurative long flight home.

Sunday's loss to the Mariners finished off a lost weekend in which Tampa Bay was swept by Seattle by scores of 12-4, 9-2 and, then on Sunday, 7-1.

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SEATTLE -- The Rays left Safeco Field with some things to ponder for what was setting up to be a literal and figurative long flight home.

Sunday's loss to the Mariners finished off a lost weekend in which Tampa Bay was swept by Seattle by scores of 12-4, 9-2 and, then on Sunday, 7-1.

View Full Game Coverage

The starting pitching struggled. The bats, which still lead the American League in home runs, cooled off in the crisp Pacific Northwest air. Sunday's complete-game four-hitter by Seattle lefty Ariel Miranda put an exclamation point on that reality.

"We've been beat from the bottom of the first on Friday until now," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Sunday's game. "I guess the only good thing is that we're getting out of here. This team, they beat us in every facet -- out-pitched us, out-hit us, out-defended us, out-managed us, everything. We just need to get back home. Enjoy the off-day, get back home."

A baseball season is about performance over 162 games, and it's about context. The Rays just finished an odd and arduous nine-game road journey that saw them traverse the unconventional route of Minnesota, Texas and Seattle before heading back home.

There were highlights, such as series wins at Target Field in Minneapolis and Globe Life Park in Arlington that each culminated with extra-innings victories in the getaway game. And there was the past three days in Seattle, where pretty much everything fell apart.

The Rays now head back to St. Petersburg at 29-30 with a very-much-welcomed day off, the first of five such days in June, and more time in the comfier climes of Tropicana Field.

"We need it as a team," said starter Chris Archer, who will get things going again Tuesday when he takes the ball vs. the White Sox. "Tampa to Minnesota to Texas to Seattle and then back to Tampa. … It takes more than 24 hours to get acclimated. It's unusual for us, and I think it's kind of catching up to us a little bit.

"Baseball's a weird game. You've got to play 100-plus games to really know what type of team you are. But [the good early portion of the road trip] was a glimpse of who we can be."

Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. chose to focus on the positives from the nine-game journey away from home.

"I know this team," Souza said. "I know we're not going to use [the travel schedule] as an excuse. We're all men in here enough to overcome that.

"The way we battled through a lot of those hard-fought games early, I think a lot of guys are just worn out. So guys are just trying to grind through it. We've done an amazing job up to this point. We just came up a little short in this series."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

Tampa Bay Rays