ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays came up short Wednesday in their quest to reach .500, falling to the Brewers 5-0 at Tropicana Field.
It was only the Rays’ second loss in their last 13 games.
“We did get the series win, and that’s the first objective,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You want to get greedy at that point with David pitching.”
That would be LHP David Price, the subject of many trade rumors in advance of today’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Price allowed four runs in a game for the first time since June 20 against the Astros.
The Rays finished July with a 17-6 record. A win would have evened their overall record for the first time since April 22.
At 29-13, the Rays still have the best record in the AL East since June 11.
Price needed nine pitches — all strikes — to retire the Brewers in order in the first inning.
Price followed a leadoff single by DH Aramis Ramirez in the second with a walk to 2B Rickie Weeks. After striking out LF Khris Davis, Price walked 3B Mark Reynolds.
Martin Maldonado followed with a two-run single, and that was basically the ballgame.
RHP Yovani Gallardo allowed only four hits in his seven innings as four Brewers pitchers combined to hand the Rays their AL-high 13th shutout of the year.
Price, who tied a team record with wins in his previous six starts, allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in his seven innings.
“For the most part, he definitely pitched well enough to win,” Maddon said. “You have to score some runs.”
Price had allowed three runs or fewer in nine straight starts. He did extend his streak of pitching at least seven innings to 13 consecutive starts.
“I didn’t make a pitch when I needed to in the second inning,” Price said. “I walked two guys there, and that’s, whenever you walk two guys in one inning, you’re probably going to give up at least one run, if not more. I just wasn’t as efficient earlier in the game, and it cost me.”
Price walked two batters in one inning for only the second time this season.
He also failed to become the first pitcher in team history to win six games in any month.
Singles by CF Desmond Jennings (originally scored an error on SS Jean Segura) and Ben Zobrist put two runners on with no one out in the first, but the Rays failed to cash in.
LF Matt Joyce flied out to center field, and 3B Evan Longoria hit into an inning-ending double play.
It might have been a different outcome had Joyce or Longoria come through.
“You never know. We get on top right there, we have a lot of momentum going on with the right guys up in that situation,” Maddon said. “Double play. But then again, there are still eight innings to right yourself. It could have definitely created some momentum in our favor, no question.”
The Rays also left the bases loaded in the ninth when SS Yunel Escobar struck out to end the game.
That’s a first
Luis Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Lobaton each homered into the Trop’s touch tank to the right of center field. Nobody reached the tank with a ground-rule double until the Brewers’ Davis did it Wednesday.
Davis hit a drive in the top of the eighth inning that landed between Jennings and RF Kevin Kiermaier and took once bounce over the outfield wall and into the tank.
RHP Joel Peralta pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance since returning to the team after missing five games with the chikungunya virus. ... The five runs matched the total runs allowed by the Rays in their previous four games. The Rays had not allowed that many runs in a game since an 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays on July 11.