ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi categorized Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as “just one of those days.”
But boy, was it ever a bad one.
It took 46 pitches for Odorizzi to get out of a five-run first inning against the Angels, a beginning that proved too much for the Rays to overcome as Tampa Bay lost the third of its last four games before an announced crowd of 25,877 at Tropicana Field.
The Rays are now three games under .500 (54-57) entering a 10-game road trip that begins Monday at Oakland.
In that first inning, Odorizzi (7-9) gave up four hits while walking two batters. Odorizzi was pulled after the third inning for right-hander Kirby Yates, his shortest start in a Rays’ uniform and did not record an out until his 36th pitch.
“It was just one of those days where you make a bad pitch and (they) find holes, make good pitch (they) finds holes, too. Today was a tough day overall for me. I started off bad and it didn’t get any better in the first inning It was just a tough inning. When you start the game off like that, five runs, it doesn’t give your team any help from the start.”
In 82 pitches on the mound, Odorizzi finished with three walks, eight hits allowed, one strikeout and five runs, all earned.
“Jake did not have his day,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It just wasn’t going to work out for him today. He’s been pitching really, really well for us. Leadoff walk and then two-strike (Mike) Trout double and one and on. I really though he was going to have a pretty good day the way he’s been pitching.”
Trailing 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Rays rallied to score three runs to cut the deficit to 7-5. First baseman James Loney batted home Matt Joyce on a RBI single, Evan Longoria scored from third base on a wild pitch thrown reliever Kevin Jepsen and with the bases loaded, pinch hitter Cole Figueroa was walked by right-handed pitcher Joe Smith to score Loney for the third run.
Grant Belfour pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Jake McGee retired the side in the top of the ninth to give Tampa Bay’s offense a fighting chance, but the Rays were held to one hit by Smith and Huston Street in the final two innings to end the game.
Scoring with runners in position continued to be an Achilles Heel for the Rays, who left 12 batters stranded Sunday.
“That’s the tale of the tape right there,” Maddon said. “We had plenty of opportunities.”
With the bases still loaded in bottom of the seventh, Kevin Kiermaier grounded out to first. Kiermaier was 0-for-2 Sunday with bases loaded and has one extra base hit in his last 17 games.
“It wasn’t my day at the plate to shine which is unfortunate because I had runners in scoring position a couple of times,” Kiermaier said. “I know left a lot of guys on base and that really hurts because it’s something you need to take advantage of in games like that and I didn’t.”
Yates pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts, but what followed was a 1 1/3 inning, inefficient performance from Jeff Beliveau that allowed two more runs on four hits.
Loney went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored to lead the Rays, who could muster only one run after loading the bases twice in the fourth inning. Loney scored on a RBI sacrifice fly by catcher Jose Molina in the fourth inning and in the fifth, Ben Zobrist scored on Loney’s sac fly.
Angels starter Jered Weaver (12-6) scattered six hits through six innings with three strikeouts and four walks and Trout went 3-for-4 with two RBI, a run and a double for the Angels.
In their high-scoring first inning, Trout batted home Kole Calhoun on a RBI double and later scored on former Devil Ray Josh Hamilton’s RBI single. Erick Aybar singled to load the bases and what followed was a RBI single from Howie Kendrick to score Albert Pujols, a David Freese sac fly to score Hamilton and a RBI double from Efren Navarro to score Aybar.