- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays dropped their fifth straight game Monday night. They lost a couple players, too.

Mikie Mahtook and Steve Pearce were both injured and the Rays blew an early lead while losing to the Cleveland Indians 7-4.

Mahtook has a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch in the second inning, while Pearce got an undisclosed hamstring injury in the ninth and will undergo further evaluation before Tuesday’s game.

Mahtook and Pearce added to Tampa Bay’s rash of outfield injuries - a list that includes Steven Souza Jr. (hip) and Kevin Kiermaier (broken left hand), who each will be out for an extended period of time.

“We’re shaking our heads,” manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s a frustrating time right now, there’s no doubt about it.”

Despite Tampa Bay’s misfortune, the manager also feels the Rays have the attitude necessary to bounce back.

“This organization believes, we believe, I believe and I think, most importantly, our players believe we can kind of right this ship,” Cash said. “I like the way the guys keep coming in and continuing to be positive on a daily basis.” 

Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead against Josh Tomlin in the the first inning on Evan Longoria’s 18th home run of the season. Tomlin retired Logan Forsythe to start the game, but second baseman Jason Kipnis booted Brad Miller’s routine grounder, and Miller slid into second base. Longoria later hit an 0-1 pitch onto the porch in left field.

Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff triple in the fifth and was brought home on a fielder’s choice groundout by Taylor Motter, who replaced Mahtook. Tampa Bay took a 4-2 lead in the sixth, when Miller hit a solo home run to right.

Heading into the seventh, Rays starter Drew Smyly had allowed just three runs on seven hits, but he allowed a leadoff double to Yan Gomes, who scored on a sacrifice fly from Rajai Davis to tie the game.

The Indians scored three runs in the eighth off of Erasmo Ramirez (7-5), who allowed a solo home run to Francisco Lindor and a two-run homer to Juan Uribe.

Ramirez leads the Rays with 30 appearances this season but doesn’t feel that fatigue is an excuse for his poor pitching on Monday.

“Today, I felt so great, but my location, it was terrible,” Ramirez said.


Cash played for Indians manager Terry Francona in Boston in 2007-08 and was on Cleveland’s coaching staff for two seasons. The two remain close and Francona played a joke on his friend by having Cash’s career statistics posted on the scoreboard, which included a .183 batting average, .248 on-base percentage and a .278 slugging percentage.

The numbers were posted during Tampa Bay’s batting practice, leading to applause from the Rays players.


Rays: Mahtook will return to Tampa for further evaluation. … Souza received an injection in his sore left hip Monday. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week.


Rays: LHP Blake Snell (0-1) will make his third major league start on Tuesday night. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (one earned) against Seattle in his last start.

Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (6-7) allowed a career high-tying eight runs over five innings in his last start against Kansas City. He’s 2-2 in six career starts against the Rays.

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