ST PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays have dropped a number of one-run ballgames this year in strange, but Sunday's outcome may end up being one of the strangest.
Johnny Field was thrown out at the plate by right-fielder Mitch Haniger trying to score the tying run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Rays dropped their ninth out of their last ten games by a 5-4 score.
Field reached with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning on an infeld hit, and after Rob Refsnyder lined out for the second out of the inning, Carlos Gomez flared a single to left that Haniger could not corral on a slide and appeared to kick away from him. However the ball stayed around his feet and the right fielder fired a strike to catcher Mike Zunino to throw out Field by nearly 15 feet.
Third base coach Matt Quatraro, in his first year at the position, took responsibility for the outcome after the game.
"I saw [Haniger] on the ground, and I thought 'ninth inning, two outs, good closer on the mound, good base runner with speed, take a chance,'" Quatraro said. "Obviously it turned out to be a bad judgment on my part, but it's just the way the play turned out. He made a good throw, and obviously it wasn't close."
Tampa Bay initially fell behind 1-0 in the second on a Nelson Cruz solo homer off starter Nathan Eovaldi, but came back to tie the game in the third against James Paxton on a RBI groundout by Mallex Smith. C.J. Cron broke the tie an inning later with his 15th home run of the year, and Jake Bauers added a RBI double later in the frame, scoring Matt Duffy with his first big-league RBI.
However, after trudging through five innings of work, Eovaldi went out for the sixth and allowed a base hit to Ben Gamel, then a two-run homer to Mike Zunino to tie the game before exiting.
Chaz Roe would get out of the sixth tied, but Jose Alvarado allowed a two-run homer to Kyle Seager in the seventh to give Seattle the lead for good.
Tampa Bay got one run back in the eighth, as Wilson Ramos singled off Alex Colome to drive in Joey Wendle, but bauers grounded out to end that threat and set up the final inning.
Tampa Bay drops back to six games under .500 on the season at 29-35, including a 9-17 mark in one-run games.