Tampa Bay Times
Late bullpen woes prove costly
ST. PETERSBURG — For much of the afternoon, it looked like the Rays would do enough to win the game.
Early two-run homers by Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena were enough to offset the three runs the Yankees scored in the third inning, when Michael Wacha, in an unusual-for-him-role, came out of the bullpen.
But the 4-3 lead got away in the eighth. Ryan Thompson, who got a huge double play ending a threatening seventh, walked two of the first three hitters in the inning, then allowed a one-out run scoring single to Gleyber Torres.
“Just a little uncharacteristic,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “He couldn’t quite make the adjustment. Thompson has been so reliable for us, comes in and gets the biggest out of the game at that time. … Then he just kind of lost command or lost the strike-throwing ability to put himself behind.’’
And then the game got away in the 10th, the Rays losing 8-4.
Collin McHugh, the sixth Tampa Bay pitcher, allowed four runs in a messy frame that started with a hit batter (thanks to a replay challenge), then a bloop RBI single by Rougned Odor that dropped just in front of centerfielder Brett Phillips, two more hits and a misplay by rightfielder Manuel Margot.
“It snowballed on us a little bit,’’ Cash said. “We played a pretty good ballgame up until then.’’
The Rays lost for the second time in their past five games when leading after seven innings, having gone 25-0 in those situations last season.
Cash said the key was putting too many Yankees on base, with seven walks and two hit batters.
“You’re just not going to keep a team like that, that quiet giving them the free passes,’’ he said. ‘“We’ve got to do a better job than that.’’