Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (5) celebrates with right fielder Manuel Margot (13) after the team defeated the Boston Red Sox during a baseball game Wednesday, April 12, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Rays Falter In 8-1 Loss To Reds

The Tampa Bay Rays started out the season 13-0. Since then, they have gone 1-3 in their last four games.

Tampa Bay dropped their series opener against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night in an 8-1 defeat. The Reds opened up the floodgates offensively in the fourth inning with a three-RBI double. From there, they maintained control all evening long.

Jalen Beeks wound up with his first loss of the 2023 campaign. In his second start of the season, Beeks pitched for three innings and allowed one hit, two walks and one run. Despite ending up with the loss, Beeks may have had Tampa Bay’s strongest pitching performance of the night.

Kevin Kelly relieved Beeks in the fourth inning, but he did not last long. In just one inning pitched, Kelly allowed two hits, two walks and three runs. He was replaced by Cooper Criswell in the fifth inning. Criswell pitched the final four innings, surrendering four hits, zero walks and four runs.

In the batter’s box, Randy Arozarena, Harold Ramirez and Josh Lowe all turned in multi-hit performances for the Rays. Lowe also ended up with Tampa Bay’s only run of the game on a ninth-inning home run. Needless to say, his solo shot was too little, too late for a squad already facing a massive deficit in the final inning of play.

Cincinnati Builds A Steady Lead

After neither team recorded a hit in the first inning, the Rays managed to load a pair of runners on base in the top of the second. Isaac Paredes reached first on an infield single, and Lowe followed him up with a knock into right field. Both runners ended up in scoring position on a throwing error from Cincinnati. However, with two outs already on the board, Paredes and Lowe ended up stranded on base following a Manuel Margot groundout.

The Reds immediately made the Rays pay for stranding those runs. Kevin Newman led off the inning with a blast over the left field wall on just the second pitch he saw. His home run gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in just the second inning.

Cincinnati continued rolling over Tampa Bay as the night went on. Despite starting pitcher Hunter Greene exiting the game after the third inning with a right tibia contusion, the Reds remained in control on the mound. Buck Farmer, Alex Young and Ian Gibaut combined to pitch the next four innings for Cincinnati, while Kevin Herget finished off the final two innings on the mound. Since Greene did not pitch for at least five innings, he did not qualify for the win. It instead went to Gibaut, who was the only Reds pitcher of the day to not allow any hits or walks.

Rays Cannot Respond

While the Reds bullpen kept the Rays in check in the batter’s box, Cincinnati’s batters continued to pile on with more runs of their own. Newman led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double into left field. Jake Fraley and Nick Senzel were then walked to load the bases for the Reds. All three runners ended up scoring on a powerful double into deep right field from TJ Friedl. By the time the dust had settled at home plate, Cincinnati had jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Three innings later, the Reds tacked on two more runs to their lead on a pair of RBI singles. Former Gator Jonathan India and Stuart Fairchild landed on base via back-to-back hit-by-pitches. Tyler Stephenson and Newman then each knocked in a single to drive in a run. In the following inning, Jose Barrero picked up an RBI double to score Senzel once again. Barrerro ended up making it home on a Friedl ground out.

Lowe then hit a homer to lead off the top of the ninth inning and give Tampa Bay their first run of the game. However, the subsequent three batters went down 1-2-3 to seal the Cincinnati victory.

Game two of the series is set for April 18 as Nick Lodolo will get the start on the mound for the Reds. While the Rays have yet to announce their starting pitcher, they are expected to go with Taj Bradley for his MLB debut. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m.

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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