Rays End Homestand With Loss To Angels; Hit The Road For Five-Game Trip

Ryan Yarbrough faces Shohei Ohtani during Sunday’s game at Tropicana Field (Tom Layberger)

ST. PETERSBURG — Shohei Ohtani put on quite a show Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field as the Rays fell to the Angels, 6-4.

The loss dropped the Rays one-half game behind Boston, which defeated the Yankees, in the American League East.

Ohtani doubled, tripled and homered in consecutive at-bats over the course of four innings. He also walked, stole a base, drove in three runs and scored twice in front of 12,764.

The decisive run, though, came off the bat of Phil Gosselin, who led off the eighth with a home run off Matt Wisler (0-1) to give the Angels a 5-4 lead. It was the first run Wisler allowed following seven scoreless appearances since joining the Rays on June 11.

Ohtani added the insurance with an opposite field moonshot of a homer off Pete Fairbanks in the ninth. That completed a tough afternoon for a usually superb bullpen.

“They set a pretty high standard for themselves and today credit the Angels for putting together big at-bats at the right time,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.

Ohtani went 6-for-11 with two homers and five RBIs during the three-game series. His triple in the seventh off lefty Jeffrey Springs brought home the tying run.

“Ohtani certainly had a big day,” said Cash. “He can beat you in many ways. He hangs in there against lefties.”

The Rays took a 4-2 lead in the sixth when Ji-Man Choi smoked a three-run homer off Mike Mayers into the right field seats.

At that point, it looked like Ryan Yarbrough might win his second straight start at home. He threw six innings (98 pitches) and allowed two runs five days after a 41-pitch inning in relief (67 overall in two innings) against Boston on Tuesday.

“Obviously it was not ideal,” said Ryan Thompson, who started the seventh inning and was charged with two runs, of the bullpen’s performance. “We have been pretty good all year. When we come into those positions we typically lock it in. For us to come in and blow it, it sucks.”

The Rays did not get their first hit off Angels’ starter Patrick Sandoval until there were two outs in the fifth. Brandon Lowe deposited an 0-1 slider into the right field seats for his 15th home run to knot the score at one.

Wander Franco got the sixth-inning rally started when he snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a single to left. It was his first hit since his debut Tuesday night against the Red Sox.

Following a day off Monday the Rays hit the road for five games. They start a two-game series in Washington on Tuesday followed by three games in Buffalo against the Blue Jays.

Tom Layberger is also contributing writer for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.