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Tampa Bay Rays Game 25: Nate Karns Pulled Too Early in Loss

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The Tampa Bay Rays lost 4-2 to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday in difficult fashion. The Rays took the lead into the seventh inning, but the bullpen could not hold on for the win, negating a solid outing from Nate Karns.

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James Loney fell behind 0-2 but was able to hit a solo shot to right off Wei-Yin Chen in the top of the second inning to put the Rays up early. Logan Forsythe’s two-out single in the fifth plated Kevin Kiermaier, extending the lead to 2-0. The O’s got 1 back in the bottom of the sixth on a Rey Navarro single off Steve Geltz. Then in the seventh, Jimmy Paredes doubled with two outs, scoring David Lough. Adam Jones then gave the Orioles a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when he drove on two more to cap the scoring at 4-2 in his team’s favor.

Nate Karns was solid in his 5 scoreless innings pitched, allowing just 2 hits while striking out 4 and walking 1. The decision to lift Karns after just 66 pitches after he had looked very good seemed like it was quite the quick hook. Manager Kevin Cash probably wishes he could do that one over. The same formula worked for Cash when he took out Alex Colome on Friday, but the conventional wisdom to leave your starter in as long as he is effective has merit.

The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen struggled on the whole, but a couple of pitchers did have nice game. Xavier Cedeno faced Chris Davis and struck him out with several well-placed curveballs. After he went with a gutsy 3-1 breaking pitch and induced a swing-and-miss, he came with the same pitch again and got the same result. Erasmo Ramirez, meanwhile, finished the game with 1.1 perfect innings, striking out 1 and getting another out on the ground.

Brandon Guyer and Logan Forsythe each had multi-hit games to account for most of the Rays’ offense. Forsythe hit a ball to the gap in right center to lead off the fourth inning and was tagged out after over-sliding third base–otherwise he would’ve had a triple. Joey Butler went 1 for 3 in his Rays’ debut while James Loney and Kevin Kiermaier each went 1 for 3 on the day. Steven Souza Jr. had his second 4-strikeout game of the weekend and is now in an 0 for 17 rut. The league has adjusted to him, and now he needs to adjust back.

Defensively, Logan Forsythe made a great diving stop while shifted up the middle and then threw out Caleb Joseph in the third inning. Forsythe’s defense has been impressive early on in 2015, and his arm is especially good for a second baseman. Evan Longoria also made a nice play on a short hop early on in the game.

The Rays will look to get back on track tomorrow at Fenway Park when they take on the Boston Red Sox at 7:10 PM EST. Jake Odorizzi will pitch for the Rays and he’ll be opposed by Clay Buchholz.

Next: The Undercards: Ryne Stanek Tosses Six 1-Run IP

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