ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A once-promising homestand didn’t end soon enough for the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s good to be getting out of here,” manager Kevin Cash said after Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants left his team with a four-game losing streak.
The Rays won four of five to begin a nine-game, 10-day stretch at Tropicana Field. Dropping all three games to the Giants over the weekend ruined a chance to finish with the team’s first winning homestand.
“We won the first two series and then this one to get swept, it is disappointing. It’s frustrating,” Cash said after the team fell to 15-20 at home compared to 16-16 on the road. “That’s a good team over there, but we’ve got to play better.”
Brandon Belt homered and Joe Panik snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single, helping the Giants extend their winning streak to a season-best eight games.
Peavy pitched six solid innings and Derek Law (2-1) worked a scoreless seventh in completing the sweep. Belt hit his team-leading 10th homer off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, while Panik delivered in a key situation for the second straight day with his run-scoring single against Xavier Cedeno (3-2) during a four-run eighth.
Panik is just 2 for 14 through three games of a week-long road trip, but both have broken late-inning ties. His three-run, ninth-inning homer was the big blow in Saturday’s 6-4 win over Tampa Bay, which has lost four straight.
The Giants matched their longest winning streak of the season. The NL West leaders are a major league-leading 27-8 since May 11, the day they began their other eight-game run.
But Sunday wasn’t all pretty.
The Giants looked like a team playing a game that started a little after 10 a.m. San Francisco time — committing three errors in the first two innings, with one of the miscues — Peavy’s errant pickoff throw — allowing Tampa Bay’s only run to score.
The Rays weren’t able to fully take advantage of the sloppy play, however, going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position through three innings. Belt’s second homer in three days wiped out a 1-0 deficit in the fourth, and Peavy kept the game close by retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced after giving up a leadoff single to Evan Longoria in the third.
“That was kind of a series of us just not getting it done. The big hit eluded us,” Cash said. “We had baserunners all over the place the first two innings. To come out of that with one run, especially in the first, we’ve got to be able to capitalize on that.”
Giants: RHP Sergio Romo (right flexor strain), who’s on a rehab assignment with Class A San Jose, could return during a five-game homestand that begins next Friday. . C Buster Posey was given a break from defensive play for the second consecutive game and was the designated hitter.
Rays: RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) made his second rehab appearance Saturday, allowing one run and two hits over one inning for Triple-A Durham.
The Rays finished 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. They were 0 for 20 in the series.
Giants: Madison Bumgarner (8-2, 1.91 ERA) faces Jeff Locke (5-5, 5.92) in the opener of a four-game series at Pittsburgh. San Francisco hasn’t lost a game Bumgarner started since April 20, a string of 10 appearances. The left-hander is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 18 walks during that span.
Rays: Begin a seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Baltimore, with Drew Smyly (2-7, 4.75) facing Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (8-1, 3.27) on Monday. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.93 in 14 career appearances against Cleveland, including four starts. It’s only the second time Smyly will face the Indians with Tampa Bay.
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