The lasting image of Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians was Tommy Pham breaking his bat after striking out to end the game. And he had to wait a little -- no, make that a long -- time before being able to forget last night's frustration.
Pham took it out on Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, gathering two hits, including a long home run, to give the Rays a 6-2 win over the Indians after a two-hour-48-minute weather delay.
About that delay, it only rained a total of about 15 minutes, if that, and Pham characterized it after the game as a mere drizzle. The sun was out at 4:10, the scheduled time of the first pitch, but the tarp was on the field, as Indians officials believed that rain squalls would come through prior to a line of rain to the west.
As it turned out, that first line dissipated and reformed east of Cleveland, and the rain that was expected finally came at around 5:50, and as Rays' play-by-play announcer Dave Wills brought up during the broadcast, it's likely the teams could have played through it.
Once the game got going at 6:55 p.m., the Rays once again scored first, but squandered further scoring opportunities in the second and fourth innings. They scored their first run on an RBI double by Brandon Lowe, scoring Avisail Garcia, who had led off the second inning with a single. Willy Adames sacrificed Lowe to third, but Lowe was stranded there as Kevin Kiermaier struck out and Travis d'Arnaud grounded out to end the inning.
The Indians answered right back in the bottom of the inning, as former Ray Jake Bauers worked a walk, and third baseman Jose Ramirez singled. After a Jordan Luplow groundout, Leonys Martin drove Bauers home with a single to tie the score. Morton escaped further damage by getting catcher Roberto Perez to line out and striking out left fielder Greg Allen.
Kiermaier and d'Arnaud also had chances with the bases loaded in the fourth. After Ji-Man Choi lined out, Garcia singled and stole second. Lowe walked, and then Willy Adames singled, though Garcia was held at third by third base coach Rodney Linares, who was proven right to do so after a strong throw home by Jordan Luplow from right field. But once again, Kiermaier struck out, as did d'Arnaud to end the inning.
The Rays' luck turned around in the fifth after a two-out single by Tommy Pham. Ji-Man Choi then drove a ball barely over the left-field wall to give the Rays a 3-1 lead, his fourth of the season.
Then in the sixth, Brandon Lowe hit his 11th home run of the season to deep right center field, pushing the Rays' lead to 4-1. Lowe also had two hits in the game after a miserable four-strikeout effort last night.
Pham's two-run blast came in the 7th inning after Daniel Robertson reached on an error by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
After the game, Pham told Rays' radio announcers Dave Wills and Andy Freed that there was no excuse for the weather delay.
"That's very frustrating," Pham said of the "rain" delay. "That's inexcusable, for the grounds crew...you know, whoever made that decision...we could have finished the game.
"We're at the field early...I'm here at 11 a.m. getting ready for the game ... and that's just not ideal for us as players," Pham said, referencing tomorrow's day game.
"It's not something that's acceptable, especially because it didn't even rain."
The delay did not affect Rays pitcher Charlie Morton, who settled down after the second inning, only allowing that one run on three hits and striking out 10 for his fifth victory of the year. He has not lost a game in 18 consecutive starts dating back to last season.
*Indians manager Terry Francona was ejected in the sixth inning, his first ejection since 2016. He argued that Lindor did not offer a bunt attempt as he was hit by a Morton pitch.
*The Rays face the Indians on Sunday, planning an opener, likely Ryne Stanek (0-1), against Trevor Bauer (4-3). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.