ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays were one out away from a victory Sunday.
Unfortunately for Steve Geltz, Danny Valencia was up for the Oakland Athletics with a man on base.
Valencia hit Geltz’s first pitch for his third homer of the day, sending Tampa Bay to a 7-6 loss. It was first loss of the season for the Rays when they led after eight innings.
"It’s a good thing losses only count one because that one could feel like it counted as three or four," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "It’s difficult to lose a ballgame that way. … We’ve got to find a way to win that game. That’s for sure."
"He just jumped on the first pitch and he hit it out," he said. "I’ve got to make better pitches than that, be competitive and help the team out."
It was the fifth loss in six games for the Rays. Geltz (0-2) has given up three game-winning home runs in his last four appearances.
Valencia’s last homer was his fifth of the season, with each of them coming in the weekend series.
"In the whole series really, I got some good pitches to hit, and I didn’t miss `em," he said. "I’ve been kind of setting my sights to the middle-in part of the plate, and he missed over there. He came over the plate and I was able to hit it out."
John Axford (3-1) pitched an inning for the win and Ryan Madson got three outs on four pitches for his 10th save.
Brandon Guyer went deep twice for the Rays in a game that featured seven home runs. Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria also connected for his seventh homer.
Guyer homered in each of the first two innings off Sonny Gray. The second homer, Guyer’s fourth of the season, came with two men on base. But it wasn’t enough to offset Valencia’s output.
"Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat," Guyer said. "We’ve got great pitchers. They’ve bailed us out so many times. It’s just one of those games where it didn’t happen."
Gray pitched 5 2/3 innings and was charged with six runs, three earned, and six hits.
Rays starter Matt Moore gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out three.
Although the Rays entered Sunday with the fewest runs (122) in the American League, they had 47 home runs, which ranked third in the league. They ran that total to 50, including 20 in their last 10 games. Fifty-seven percent of the Rays’ runs have been driven in by homers, the highest percentage in the majors.
IN A PINCH
Chris Coghlan’s pinch-hit home run in the seventh was the first for Oakland since John Jaso accomplished the feat on June 22, 2014, ending a streak of 285 games without a pinch-hit homer.
Athletics: INF Jed Lowrie (right shin contusion) hit off a tee Saturday, resuming baseball activities. He is eligible to be reinstated from the disabled list on May 25.
Rays: RHP Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) pitched one inning for Class A Port Charlotte in his first rehab appearance. He gave up a hit and struck out one.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (0-1) will face the Texas Rangers on Monday in Oakland, opening a three-game series in which all six scheduled starters are lefties.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (1-4) will open a seven-game road trip Monday by facing the Toronto Blue Jays for the third time this season.