Tampa Bay Rays Game 85: Roller Coaster Ends at Bottom

By Robbie Knopf

The first game of the doubleheader between the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals was some contest. It was as exhilarating as any game all season, but unfortunately, it ended in disastrous fashion.

Matt Moore didn’t have it in this game, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits in 4.1 innings and being lucky not to allow more than that. However, the game was tied at 4 when he departed after the Rays scored on a James Loney solo homer, an Evan Longoria two-run blast, and a Jake Elmore sac fly. The Royals took the lead in the seventh on an Omar Infante RBI single, but the Rays somehow rallied in the ninth against Greg Holland, scoring after Kevin Kiermaier tripled and went home on a wild pitch. However, in the bottom of the frame, the Royals walked off on a Paulo Orlando walk-off grand slam.

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The Rays had their moments in this game, but thinking about the opportunities they didn’t seize could drive you crazy. Moore was his own worst enemy as he allowed three runs in the second inning, with his two-out hit-by-pitch of Drew Butera looking especially bad, but he could have allowed only one run had David DeJesus taken charge on a Kendrys Morales flyball to shallow right field. Kevin Kiermaier was at least partially at fault for that play as he ran hard towards the ball, and then he popped up a bunt with two outs and a runner on third in the fourth to cost the Rays the chance at another run. Then Kiermaier failed to execute a sac bunt in the seventh, allowing Elmore to be forced at second base.

Speaking of failed bunts, the Royals had two on with nobody out when Eric Hosmer gave the Rays a gift and bunted the ball. Xavier Cedeno fielded and threw to Evan Longoria for the force at third base. But despite that huge break, the Rays still let the Royals take the lead. Kevin Jepsen waited too long to throw the ball to Logan Forsythe on Alex Rios‘ groundball back to the mound, costing the Rays a chance at a double play. Then Jepsen allowed an RBI single to the unimpressive Omar Infante.

Kiermaier did earn a measure of redemption on his triple off Holland, but he actually overslid third base before being ruled safe following a lengthy review. He beat the throw by a while and it never should have been so close. Kiermaier did come around to score, but later in the frame, the Rays had first and second with one out and Longoria and Loney coming to the plate. Of course, they failed to execute and the team lost a few minutes later.

This game was frustrating, but now the Tampa Bay Rays have a chance at immediate redemption as Matt Andriese opposes Edinson Volquez in a few minutes. Hopefully the Rays can wash this sour taste out of our mouths.

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