Tampa Bay Times

Late bullpen woes prove costly

- BY MARC TOPKIN Times Staff Writer

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.’’

 ?? IVY CEBALLO | Times ?? Rays reliever Collin McHugh walks off after a rough 10th inning, giving up four runs (three earned) and three hits to take the loss.
IVY CEBALLO | Times Rays reliever Collin McHugh walks off after a rough 10th inning, giving up four runs (three earned) and three hits to take the loss.

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