Starter cruised into sixth, but gave up homer to Trout
By Troy Provost-Heron
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Colome had been cruising into the sixth inning, but one mistake to Mike Trout -- a mistake Trout deposited into the left-field seats -- forced Rays manager Kevin Cash to hand the ball over to his bullpen.
On Wednesday, the same bullpen limited the Angels to just two hits in four innings, but the result was not the same on Thursday. Instead, the combination of Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger allowed three runs in a decisive seventh inning in a 6-2 loss to the Angels in the rubber game of the series.
"We had an early lead and then brought our guys in [out of the bullpen] and it just didn't work out tonight," Cash said. "We'll still take those chances anytime we get them with our bullpen. We have a ton of confidence in them."
Colome exited after 5 1/3 innings, and Brandon Gomes finished off the sixth, keeping the Angels from tying things up, despite giving up back-to-back singles.
In the seventh Jepsen started off the inning by walking Matt Joyce. From there, Efren Navarro shot one to third baseman Evan Longoria and scurried for an infield single. Two batters later, Kyle Kubitza drove in the tying run with a single to right.
"Leadoff walks always tend to start something bad, and then just a couple well-placed balls," Jepsen said. "Ground ball down the line, Evan made a great play in stopping it and then another ground ball just out of reach of Logan [Forsythe]. Nothing hit hard, just well-placed I guess."
With 26 pitches in the inning, Cash made a move for Boxberger, who induced a grounder off the bat of Erick Aybar, which was too slow to turn two and scored the go-ahead run. He gave up an RBI double to Trout.
The three-run seventh was followed up by a two-run home run by Albert Pujols off Preston Guilmet that moved the Angels first baseman into sole possession of 16th on the all-time home run list with No. 537, passing Mickey Mantle.
Colome's early exit came after just 80 pitches, and a day after he stated that he wanted the opportunity to start pitching deeper into ballgames.
"The only thing I can do is every time I go out I do my job," Colome said. "Try to do my best. After that, I can't control it. I want to keep going. I [wasn't] tired and I pitched good. If I finish the sixth inning with only one run, what would happen?"
Following a rough outing like Thursday, the bullpen is just looking forward to getting back out there Friday for the Rays' series opener against the White Sox.
"With the guys we have down there [in the bullpen] and the mentality everyone has, you put this one behind you," Jepsen said. "You'll have some rough games throughout the season. … It's tough for us because Colome pitched such a great game and was keeping those hitters at bay for so long. It's a tough loss, but we'll get right back there tomorrow."
Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.