Sloppy Play Leads To Another Rays Blown Lead

With a chance to sweep a road series in Chicago, the Tampa Bay Rays blew a one run lead in the eighth inning & lost to the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon.  White Sox Designated Hitter Matt Davidson hit a two-run home run to centerfield, giving the home team the only runs they needed to win the final game of the series.  While the loss ends the Rays modest two-game winning streak.

It looked like the Rays would jump out to an early lead in the top of the first, with some help from former Rays pitcher James Shields, who walked the bases loaded to start the game.  But Rays Shortstop Matt Duffy struck out to end the inning.  Outfielder Mallex Smith started the Rays second by walking & after a single then a sacrifice bunt by Catcher Jesus Sucre, was on third base with one out.  But Shields, who is known for having a good pick-off move, faked a pitch home, got Smith moving towards home & threw to third base, causing Smith to get in a run-down & being tagged out. 

Meanwhile, Rays Rookie Pitcher Yonny Chirinos, making his second career start, got a three up three down first inning, allowed a hit in the second.  But in the third inning, he ran into some trouble after giving up a hit, walking a batter then with two outs hitting White Sox First Baseman Jose Abreu with a pitch to load the bases with two outs.  But Chirinos, who struck out three batters in the inning, got Designated Hitter Matt Davidson looking at a called strike three to end the third.

In the top of the fifth, the Rays broke the scoreless tie when with one out Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier singled & with two outs, was running on the pitch when First Baseman C.J. Cron doubled, driving Kiermaier home. 

Chirinos made that 1-0 lead last through his outing, as the rookie, who has yet to allow a run in his first two career starts, went five and a third innings, threw 75 pitches, striking out five walking one & hitting a batter.  And while Rays relievers Jose Alvarado & Chaz Roe were stingy with that one run lead, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Rays lead was no more.  Because after getting a strike out, Reliever Austin Pruitt, the Rays fourth pitcher of the day, gave up a single to Abreu, then served up the game-winning two-run home run to Davidson. 

In the top of the 9th, the Rays did get a lead-off walk from Duffy, but then White Sox Reliever Nate Jones got two straight strike outs & then closed the door when Sucre grounded out to second base.

After returning home & a day off on Thursday, the Rays look to get their second home win of the season when they host the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.  Rays Starter Jake Faria (0-1 14.29) will try to rebound from his last start, where he allowed a career-high eight runs in Fenway Park vs the Red Sox.  The Phillies will counter with Vince Velasquez (1-1 5.19).  Coverage begins on 620 WDAE at 6 pm with The Inside Pitch hosted by Steve Carney, followed by the Rays Radio Network Pre-Game Show at 6:30 pm.

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