It was a game the Rays needed to win, and they didn't win it. They could have in spite of everything that went wrong, and that list was lengthy. Chris Archer left in the second inning with an arm injury that's not believed to be serious. Wil Myers wasn't around for the biggest at-bat of the game because of asthma-like symptoms. They hit into six double plays. They ran into three outs on the bases. The bullpen was asked to get 22 outs and couldn't do it. They blew an eighth-inning lead. Oh, and the Red Sox won.
“Regardless of all that we were in position to win that game,” manager Joe Maddon said. The Rays didn't, though, losing 9-8 to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field after the D-backs rallied for two runs in the eighth inning. The loss marked the first time the Rays were swept this season since they lost two games at Kansas City on April 30 and May 1. It was also the first time the Rays lost back-to-back games on the road since dropping two straight June 21 and 22 at Yankee Stadium. It was the first series loss for the Rays since June 18-19 when the Red Sox took two of three at Fenway Park. And the Rays fell to 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox. “It was tough,” said Joel Peralta, who took the loss. Archer left the game with tightness in his right arm while pitching to Didi Gregorius with two out in the second inning. “Nothing serious,” Archer said. “All the tests came back negative, meaning nothing's going on. We just want to be cautious. It's just a little tight. The extra day 'til my next start will definitely be good, will be much needed, and looking forward to going out and making my next start.” Myers has suffered from asthma-like symptoms while playing in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. He has trouble breathing and he gets dizzy in the Phoenix altitude. Those symptoms gradually took hold as the game progressed and he was removed for pinch-hitter Sam Fuld in the seventh inning. “I think the thing that really set if off was running down that ball in the gap (in the fifth inning) then having to run out that infield single right after that to leadoff (the sixth) inning,” Myers said. “That's when I started feeling it and my chest started hurting.” Myers said he felt better after lying down in the trainer's room. He said he should be able to play Friday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The trouble with Myers leaving the game, other than the fact he left under duress, was the Rays trailed by a run and had runners on second and third with two-out after a two-run double by Evan Longoria. Fuld, facing left-hander Joe Thatcher, dropped a single into left field to score both runners to put the Rays head 8-7. That hit capped a four-run inning and helped the Rays rally from a 7-4 deficit. They led 3-0 after their first at-bat, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce to open the game and a two-out, two-run double by Yunel Escobar. The D-backs got a run off Archer in the first inning, but the rookie appeared to be pitching comfortably until he felt his forearm tighten. Catcher Jose Molina noticed Archer grimacing after several pitches during the second inning. He went to the mound and asked Archer if he was OK. When Archer said the words “forearm tightness” Molina motioned to the dugout for Maddon and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield. When Maddon heard the words “forearm tightness” he summoned Alex Torres from the bullpen. “Whenever a young pitcher tells you that I'm not going to mess around,” Maddon said. “We believe he's going to fine. Probably going to be able to make his next start, but at that moment I'm not going to jeopardize his career or our future, either.” Archer asked if he could continue, but Maddon was firm. “I'm glad that they are cautious with me, thinking about the future and hopefully it just dissolves and in my next start I'm out there at normal game speed,” Archer said. Torres got out of that inning but gave up three runs in the third inning. It was the most runs he's allowed in an outing all season. Torres also allowed his first home run of the year. Kelly Johnson tied the score at 4-4 with a solo home run in the fourth inning. But the Diamondbacks scored three times in the fifth inning off Kyle Farnsworth and Jake McGee to take a 7-4 lead. “Our bullpen was just not normal,” Maddon said. “Beyond all the double plays our bullpen is normally a little bit more locked down than that. Alex had a tough time. Jake had a tough time, and that's not normal for us. They were rested, too. That's the part that didn't make a whole lot of sense.” Still, the Rays came back. The four-run rally in the seventh inning began with an infield single by Molina. Pinch-hitter Luke Scott kept it going by bunting against the shift. Joyce, who reached base in all five plate appearances but was thrown out on the bases twice, drew a walk to load the bases. Longoria and Fuld delivered the big hits. Maddon turned the lead over to Peralta. He pitched a perfect seventh inning but walked Gregorius and allowed a pinch-hit single to Gerardo Parra. Fernando Rodney came on and walked his first batter to load the bases. Martin Prado singled in two runs to put the D-backs back in front. The Rays put two runners on in the ninth, but the game ended when Longoria hit into a double-play. It was the fifth time the Rays grounded into a double play during the game. The other double occurred when Joyce tried to tag from first base in the third inning and advance to second on Longoria's fly ball down the right field line. “They got to us, and I thought when we got the lead I came in the seventh got three outs, going into the eighth feeling good,” Peralta said. “I walked the second hitter and this guy got a base hit on me. The walk was the worst part about it. Shouldn't walk that guy. It happens. Rodney makes good pitches. The guy gets jammed and a base hit. Just happens. One of those days I guess.” email@example.com (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO