Rally Falls Short As Rays Drop Seventh Straight

posted by Steve Carney -

ST PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Tampa Bay's June swoon continued Thursday, as Mitch Haniger's fifth inning home run proved to be the difference to send the Rays to a 5-4 defeat at Tropicana Field, their seventh straight defeat which keeps them winless in the month at 0-6.

Ryne Stanek needed thirty pitches to get through the first inning, though he did not allow a run.  Austin Pruitt took over in the second and immediately walked former Ray Denard Span.  Guillermo Heredia flew out to Carlos Gomez in right, but David Freitas singled away from the shift to right, allowing Span to take third, and Dee Gordon's sacrifice fly plated Span for a 1-0 lead.

Jean Segura followed up with a base hit to right to move Freitas up a base, and Mitch Haniger singled in the Mariners catcher, coupled with an error on Daniel Robertson allowing Segura also to score for a 3-0 lead.

Denard Span, making his return to Tropicana Field after being traded from the rays to the Mariners May 25, made it 4-0 in the top of the third with his sixth home run of the season and second for Seattle.

Daniel Robertson finally got Tampa Bay on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo home run of his own, his seventh, but Seattle re-established a four-run lead thanks to Haniger 13th homer of the season in the fifth off Pruitt.

Despite alowing all five-run on seven hits, Pruitt ended up throwing seven innings of relief, with Chaz Roe putting up a zero in the ninth.

Tampa Bay had opportunities to get closer earlier in the game, wasting an opportunity in the fifth when Mallex Smith and Johnny Field each singled to begin the inning against Mike Leake, putting runners on the corners for the top of the order.  But Robertson struck out on three pitches and C.J. Cron grounded into a double play to short-circuit the rally.

Leake (6-3) worked into the ninth, but was lifted after allowing a leadoff double to Wilson Ramos.  Former Ray Alex Colome came on in relief and got Matt Duffy to ground out and Jake Bauers to strike out, but hit Carlos Gomez with a pitch and allowed a base hit to Smith that loaded the bases in front of Field, whose double into the left-field corner cleared the bases and got the Rays to within a run.

Robertson then made a bid for extra bases, but Kyle Seager ranged to his right and made a strong throw that got the Rays shortstop by a step to end the game.

BAUERS HELD HITLESS IN DEBUT: After being called up for Thursday's contest, Jake Bauers went 0 for 4 in his big league debut.  He flew to left field to end the second inning, then lined and grounded into the shift in his next two at-bats before Alex Colome struck him out in the ninth.

Despite not getting on base, Bauers flashed the glove to catch a foul popup off the bat of Ryon Healy to end the top of the fifth inning.

FRIDAY'S MATCHUP

Tampa Bay Rays (28-33) vs. Seattle Mariners (39-23), 7:10 p.m. first pitchm, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.

Rays Starter - RHP Wilmer Font (0-2, 9.78 ERA)

Mariners starter - LHP Marco Gonzales (6-3, 3.38 ERA)

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Saturday - Rays vs. Seattle Mariners, 4:10 p.m. first pitch.

Sunday - Rays vs. Seattle Mariners, 1:10 p.m. first pitch.

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