Righty allows five runs in 46-pitch first inning in series finale vs. Angels.
ST. PETERSBURG — An odd homestand drew to a close on Sunday, when the Rays took a 7-5 loss to the Angels at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (54-57) have now lost three of four, dropping to 8 1/2 games behind the American League East-leading Orioles, who defeated the Mariners on Sunday. They also lost a chance to gain ground for the AL’s second Wild Card spot, as the Blue Jays lost to the Astros.
The Rays departed after the game for a three-stop, 10-game road trip to Oakland, Chicago and Texas, where, ultimately, their fate could be determined.
Carrying a five-series winning streak into their weekend set, the Rays were dealing with the departure of David Price. For the length of the weekend, the team appeared to be adjusting to the new order while clinging to the idea they can remain relevant without their best pitcher.
Jake Odorizzi got off to a rough start. The Rays right-hander delivered the first pitch of the game at 1:41 p.m. and did not record the first out of the inning until 2:01 p.m.
Before the first had run its course, the Angels had scored five runs, sent nine men to the plate and Odorizzi had thrown 46 pitches — a career-high for a single inning.
“We had good counts the whole first inning and took advantage of it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
A frustrated Odorizzi called Sunday’s start “one of those days where you make some bad pitches and they find holes.”
“You make a good pitch, it finds holes, too,” Odorizzi said. “You just have to fight through it. Today was just a tough day overall for me. Started off bad, didn’t get any better. The first inning was just a tough inning. When you start off a game like that, a five spot in the first just doesn’t give our team any help from the start.”
Odorizzi got an early hook after throwing 82 pitches through three innings. He allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks en route to his ninth loss of the season.
“Jake just did not have his day,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It wasn’t going to work for him today … I really thought he was going to have a good day based on how he’s been pitching.”
The Rays loaded the bases against Jered Weaver in the fourth and only scored once, via a Jose Molina sacrifice fly. They got busy again in the fifth, when Ben Zobrist singled to lead off the inning and Matt Joyce walked, bringing cleanup hitter Evan Longoria to the plate.
Surprising everyone in the ballpark, Longoria dropped a bunt in the direction of third base. Weaver managed to make a nice play on the ball, throwing out Longoria at first. But the sacrifice put the runners in scoring position. James Loney then flied out to center field to drive home the Rays’ second run to cut the Angels lead to 5-2.
Mike Trout singled home a run in the sixth and David Freese had a sacrifice fly in the seventh to push the lead to 7-2.
In the seventh, Loney singled home a run, Longoria scored on a wild pitch by Kevin Jepsen, andCole Figueroa drove in another when he drew a walk against Joe Smith with the bases loaded to narrow the gap to 7-5. Unfortunately for the Rays, Kevin Kiermaier grounded out on the first pitch he saw to end the inning.
“It was a good pitch to hit,” Kiermaier said. “I was looking for something over the plate, and I should have done more but I didn’t. I knew he was going to come right there with the fastball and try to get ahead. He threw me a pitch that I could handle but I didn’t take advantage of. … It’s something you need to take advantage of in games like that, and I didn’t.”
Weaver earned his 12th win of the season, allowing two runs on six hits, and four relievers followed to seal the win.
“When push came to shove, we got some big outs all afternoon,” Scioscia said.
While the Rays hitters did manage to push across five runs, they left 12 runners on base and went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
“We had plenty of opportunities and had the right guys up at the right time today,” said Maddon, noting that the offense just didn’t thrive Sunday, particularly with the bases loaded.