MIAMI — The winless road trip ended Tuesday night with a 1-0 loss. Naturally.
And the winning run scored on a bases-loaded walk that was set up by a two-out hit by the pitcher.
And a chance in the eighth inning to move the tying run to second base died when the catcher bunted into a double play.
“That pretty much summarizes what’s been going on lately,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The losing streak is at eight, the longest since they dropped 11 straight in 2009.
The Rays left Marlins Park on Tuesday night after being swept in the Miami portion of this four-game series with the Marlins dressed not in all-white or decked out in Jimi Hendrix/Woodstock attire. They headed home for a stretch in which they play 18 of 21 games at Tropicana Field looking very much like a team in search of answers.
“I think this is the most pivotal part of the season,” said Chris Archer, who took the loss despite allowing one run in seven innings. “It’s that part of the season where we’re looking to gain some ground. Being at home is going to be nice.”
Archer allowed a two-out single to Henderson Alvarez, then walked Christian Yelich after getting ahead 0-2 on the left fielder. Archer reacted as if he thought he caught the outside with the pitch. After the game, he admitted to missing the strike zone, but not by much.
The Rays hit into three double plays — the last when Jose Molina bounced into a 1-6-3 in the eighth while attempting a sacrifice bunt.
“We have to score more runs,” Maddon said. “You have to hide a few of your blemishes. There’s got to be some Clearasil out there.”
It was the American League-leading seventh time the Rays were shut out this season. Alvarez needed only 88 pitches to go the distance.
It also was only the second time in team history the Rays lost 1-0 on a bases-loaded walk.
The Rays hit .217 during the eight games on this trip. They scored only 17 runs — six during the final six games.
Alex Cobb, who took the loss Monday despite allowing only three first-inning runs in his six innings, allowed his frustration to boil over. He said he hoped no one on the team was accepting the losing and said the team needs to focus on what it is doing wrong instead of always searching for the silver lining after yet another loss.
Before the game, Evan Longoria said Cobb is not the only one who’s frustrated.
“No doubt,” Longoria said. “This is probably one of the best teams we’ve had on paper. I think that’s one of the things that’s kind of baffling to us. Why are we not doing it? I feel like we have more tools than we’ve ever had as far as information we get. The staff is pretty much the same. There’s not a whole lot that’s changed other than we added better players, I feel like. And it’s gotten worse. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not good.”
So what’s wrong?
“We’re not doing one thing exceptionally well, and if you want to win baseball games, you’re not going to do it that way,” Longoria said. “When we’ve done something well in a game, we’ve done four other things terribly.”
Longoria said the team no longer has an identity, something it can count on showing up every night.
“We’re not a team that’s gone out there and pitched the ball well every night or banged the ball around the yard every night,” Longoria said. “And you can’t point to us and say, ‘They’re going to pitch for sure.’ Or, ‘They’re going to hit for sure, but we don’t know if they’re going to do this.’ We haven’t done anything really well every night. Our defense has been suspect at times. The bullpen has been there and it’s not been there. So, like I said, every aspect has been kind of deficient at one point or another. Until you figure out what kind of team you’re going to be, you can’t understand.”