Game 45: Kevin Kiermaier Records First Home Run in Rays Loss

By Fletcher Keel

The Tampa Bay Rays ended their weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a disappointing way, dropping the fourth game of the series 6-2, and falling to 19-26 on the 2014 campaign.

David Price took the starting bump for the Rays, pitching 6.2 innings, something Joe Maddon and the Rays bullpen are very thankful for, but allowing six runs on 11 hits. He did strike out 7 while walking none, but he continues to allow far too much hard contact. Home runs by Albert Pujols in the 1st and 7th innings bookended his outing. The loss drops Price to 4-4 on the year.

It was another game in which the Rays allowed a lot of runs early, as they were down 5-0 by the time the fourth inning came to a close. The scoring began after Pujols hit his first homer of the game on an 0-2 fastball from Price. Howie Kendrick extended the lead to a 2-0 advantage in the third, scoring Mike Trout, and the bottom of the fourth inning was a killer, as the Angels put a ‘3’ spot on the board as Grant Green singled to bring home Erick Aybar, and Collin Cowgill reached on an Evan Longoria error, which scored Chris Iannetta.

The Rays wouldn’t get on the board until the seventh inning, when Kevin Kiermaier hit his first major league home run, just one day after recording his first major league hit. It was an impressive home run to the opposite field, and another sign that his offense really is coming around. But that’d be all the offense Tampa Bay would be able to muster. But the Angels tacked on another run in the bottom half of the same inning, as Pujols tacked on his second home run of the game, and the Rays drew no close than 6-2.

Price, after allowing the first inning home run to Pujols on a fastball and throwing it 11 of his first 13 pitches, only threw his fastball 46.2% of the time overall in the game according to Brooks Baseball. He kept the velocity in the mid-90’s, just like he did in Seattle, actually averaging an incredible 96.1 MPH in the game. But even with his stuff looking electric, he has continued to get hit hard, and a stagnant offense certainly didn’t.

The Rays now head back to the Trop with a 3-4 road trip under their belt, and will need to end their offensive problems quickly, as they’ll host a red hot Oakland Athletics team on Tuesday. They have an off-day tomorrow to think things over before that big series begin.