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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Hernandez has rough night as Rays lose

ST. PETERSBURG - The Tampa Bay Rays signed Roberto Hernandez in the offseason to help eat some of the innings lost when James Shields was traded to Kansas City.

Forget the won/loss record, though a good one would be a bonus.

The Rays need Hernandez to pitch deep into games and take some pressure off the bullpen.

That wasn't the case last weekend in Baltimore, and that wasn't the case Friday night against the visiting New York Yankees.

The right-hander turned in another short outing when he lasted just four innings in the Rays' 9-4 loss to the Yankees in front of a Tropicana Field crowd of 17,825. It was the second straight loss for the Rays and their season-high third straight at home.

Hernandez allowed five runs on six hits and fell to 2-5 with a 5.73 ERA.

"The primary thing is, he's not throwing the ball well with any kind of consistency," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Hernandez said he is having trouble locating his sinker. It happened in Baltimore, where he allowed five runs on eight hits in two innings, and it happened again against the Yankees.

"Missing in the middle of the plate. It's not where he wants it to be. That's what I'm seeing," Maddon said.

The prime example Friday was the sinker he threw to Brett Gardner with two out in the fourth inning and the Rays trailing 3-0.

"The ball stayed in the plane. It no move for nothing," Hernandez said.

The ball landed in the right-field seats and extended the Yankees' lead to 5-0.

With the stockpile of young arms at Triple-A Durham and with Hernandez's one-year, $3.25 million contract also containing a bonus clause for innings pitched out of the bullpen, the question becomes: When will the Rays decide to move Hernandez to the pen to create an opening for, say, Chris Archer?

Not soon, Maddon indicated after Friday's game.

When asked if he and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman would discuss a possible move later that night, Maddon said, "The ball stayed in the plane. It no move for nothing."

When asked if that talk could be on the immediate horizon, Maddon said, "I don't anticipate talking about Hernandez. I really don't."

Hernandez has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in his last six innings.

Hernandez breezed through the first inning, retiring the Yankees in order.

The Yankees jumped on Hernandez in the second when Travis Hafner lined a double down the right-field line and David Adams was called safe on an infield hit.

Lyle Overbay doubled to the wall in right-center field to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Jayson Nix singled home the third run of the inning.

Hernandez retired the Yankees in order in the third and ran the streak to six straight outs when he retired the first two batters in the fourth.

But No. 9 hitter Chris Stewart singled and Gardner made it 5-0 with his fourth home run of the season.

Maddon called for Cesar Ramos, hoping to have the lefty go through the Yankees order once.

"Not in the same inning," Maddon said. "That was the rub."

The Yankees batted around, scoring three more times to extend the lead to 8-0.

Yankees starter David Phelps retired the first 13 batters he faced before allowing a double to James Loney in the fifth inning. The Rays scored three times in the sixth, with an RBI double by Matt Joyce being the big hit.

Phelps left the game in the eighth after being struck on the right forearm on a line drive by Zobrist. X-rays showed only a bruise.

Yankees right fielder Curtis Granderson wasn't so fortunate. He fractured the knuckle on his left pinky when struck by a pitch from Ramos in the fifth.

Evan Longoria's career-long 16-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 night. Jason Bartlett's team-record 19-game streak set in 2009 stands.

It was only the second time this season that Longoria failed to reach base.

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