All good things come to an end. On Saturday afternoon Charlie Morton had his streak of starts without a loss dating back to August 11, 2018 come to an end as the Tampa Bay Rays fell 5-3 to the Los Angeles Angels.
Morton (8-1, 2.37 ERA) took the loss for Tampa Bay who fall to 42-28 on the season. Morton worked six innings allowing four runs on five hits while striking out nine and walking two. He allowed a pair of homers in the loss.
It was Morton’s first loss as a Ray, it was his first loss to the Angles in eight career starts against them, and it snapped the longest unbeaten streak in the major at 21 starts.
“I didn’t think I had my best stuff, my best pitches came until the last few innings.” Morton said. “Those kinds of games – you make a couple of mistakes and you pay for them. they put some really good swings on those pitches.”
Jose Suarez (2-1, 4.50 ERA) picks up the win for the Angels who improve to 35-36 on the year. Cam Bedrosian worked a scoreless 1.1-innings, Ty Buttery a scoreless eighth, and Hansel Robles worked the ninth to pick up his 10th save of the season.
Los Angeles improves to 2-1 on their season-long 11-game trip. They are 4-1 in their last five games and all four wins in that stretch have been by a score of 5-3. With the win they improve to 13-8 over their last 21 games.
Los Angeles scored three runs in the second inning ending Morton’s 16 consecutive scoreless inning streak came. Brian Goodwin bounced a double over the heads of Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham allowing Justin Bour who had walked to open the inning to score from first. David Fletcher followed with a 2-run homer on a 0-2 pitch to put the Angels up 3-0.
After walking Kevan Smith to leadoff the inning Brian Goodwin sent a soft fly ball into shallow left-center field. Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham converged on the ball that bounded high off the turf allowing Smith to score all the way from first. the misplay in the outfield became a moot point as David Fletcher followed with a 2-run homer to put the Angels up 3-0.
It was the third game of the series that the Angels jumped out to an early multi-run lead. For most teams coming back is a difficult task but not so much for Tampa Bay according to Manager Kevin Cash. “It’s really not not tough for this club. They do a good job keeping their head up, trying to have good at-bats and put some pressure on the defense and the pitcher.” Adding, “It’s just hasn’t gone our way two of the last three or dating back even earlier on this homestand.”
Justin Bour extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth taking a 1-2 pitch out to the opposite field.
The Rays came back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth off starter Jose Suarez. Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham opened the inning with back-to-back singles and after Austin Meadows just missed a homer to straight away center, Yandy Diaz delivered a three run homer. It was his 11th homer of the season. He is batting .404/.429/.596 (19-for-47) with two homers and eight runs driven in over his last 11 games.
Adam Kolarek retired the Angels in order in the seventh to deliver the shutdown inning.
Jake Faria, recalled from Durham prior to the game, retired Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani to open the eighth and got allowed a solo homer to Kevan Smith on a 1-2 pitch giving the Angels an insurance run. Faria stayed on and worked around a 2-out double by Luis Rengifo to keep the game within a bloop and a blast.
Tommy Pham walked and singled twice to extend his current batting streak to five straight games. He also has multiple hits in four straight games.
Kevin Kiermaier singled in the fifth to extend his batting streak to five.
Home Sweet Home?
Not so much for the Rays this season. While the Rays have posted a 23-10 mark on the road this season, they are just 19-18 at home.
Charlie Morton doesn’t put too much stock on where you win. “Just win in general, you want to win games.”He said. “I think there is a momentum component to a season an d you want to avoid the negative momentum, the downward trends.”
“Baseball is such a weird game at times,” Kevin Kiermaier added. “It’s not like we change up anything we do on the road compared to at home….We are all going to go out there and play to our potential and try to win ballgames.”
Tampa Bay and Los Angeles finish their four game series Sunday afternoon at 1:10. Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.54 ERA) will get the open for Tampa Bay. Griffin Canning (2-2, 3.65 ERA) will take the mound for Los Angeles.