The Tampa Bay Rays came into their series with the Detroit Tigers desperately looking to gain some momentum. However the Rays would come up short in the first game of the series, dropping the contest 8-5 in 11 innings.
Chris Archer was cruising through his first 4 innings, allowing just 1 hit. However his command and control had not been great, and that spelled bad things to come. In the 5th, Archer allowed 3 unearned runs and followed by allowing an earned run in the 6th before he was removed with two outs. Those 3 unearned runs were the product of a James Loney error, however Archer had plenty of chances to get out of the inning with less damage. Archer’s final line wasn’t awful- he went 5.2 innings while allowing 4 runs (1 earned) with 6 strikeouts. He did allow 5 walks, and those control issues left more to be desired in this start.
Kirby Yates came on in relief of Archer, doing his job by getting the final out of the 6th. After him the Rays turned to Brad Boxberger, who threw a scoreless 7th inning with a strikeout. Boxberger simply keeps dominating for the Rays this season as shown by his 1.83 ERA. Then Joel Peralta came on in the 8th a solo homer off the bat of J.D. Martinez. With the game tied in the 9th the Rays turned to Jake McGee, and he worked around a double to throw a scoreless inning. McGee came back out to throw a scoreless 10th.
Once again, Grant Balfour imploded when the Rays needed him most. Coming on for the 11th, Balfour loaded the bases and walked-in the go-ahead run before being removed in favor of Jeff Beliveau. Balfour’s struggles continue, and you have to wonder if the Rays can continue using him in key situations. Beliveau allowed a pair of inherited runners to score before finally finishing out the inning.
The Rays got the scoring started off quickly when James Loney smacked a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 1st. They added another in the 2nd when a Ben Zobrist single scored Vince Belnome, who had just gotten his first big league hit. After the Tigers took the lead in the top of the 8th, the Rays came back and re-tied the game when a Belnome sac fly drove in Evan Longoria. The Rays did have a chance to do more than that after they loaded the bases with 1 out in the 8th, but they had to settle for the single run. The Rays plated their final run in the 11th when Longoria drove in Zobrist with a single. The Rays actually had the tying run on base in the 11th, but they couldn’t capitalize.
Zobrist had a nice day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks, an RBI, and a run scored. Zobrist has been key to the Rays offense over the past month. As solid was Loney, who went 3 for 4 with the aforementioned home run. The offense managed a decent 7 hits, and they gave the Rays a chance to win. However when given a chance to win the game in the 9th and 10th, the offense could not come through.