'There's a lot that was going on,' Cash says about Tampa Bay's longest game this year
By Alejandro Zúñiga
DETROIT -- The game was so long, and so much had happened, that Rays manager Kevin Cash wasn't quite sure how to begin his press conference Tuesday night once his club's 8-7 defeat to the Tigers in 5 hours and 3 minutes had finally ended.
"All right, how about, we lost, y'all ask the questions," he offered. "There's a lot that was going on."
It had all begun at 7:08 p.m. ET with a deep fly ball out from left fielder Brandon Guyer, and by the time Detroit won on a walk-off sacrifice fly, there had been enough rallies, reviews and pitching changes to make it Tampa Bay's longest contest of the season. It was also a disheartening one, dropping them to a season-low four games under .500 and featuring missed opportunities that frustrated Cash and players alike.
There was the eighth inning, for instance, when right-hander Nathan Karns entered in a tied game for the first relief appearance of his Major League career and allowed a home run on his second pitch, a 92-mph four-seamer to Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez.
"I was trying to keep zeros up there," Karns said. "Unfortunately, I got two out of three innings done. The only real big mistake was that leadoff home run."
The Rays then sandwiched walks around a James Loney single to load the bases with one out in the ninth, but, though Tampa Bay tied the game on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Evan Longoria, it couldn't reclaim the lead.
"We had a chance to separate it and get a couple more runs there," Cash said. "We didn't. … In that situation, yeah, ideally we put ourselves in a good spot. We just weren't able to capitalize with more. One was obviously needed; two or three would've been ideal."
Then came the 13th inning, when Andrew Bellatti -- who, making his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Durham, had mowed through the heart of Detroit's order in the 12th -- took his eyes off a sacrifice bunt and bobbled it. That allowed the Tigers to put two runners aboard with nobody out, and two batters later, Rajai Davis plated the winning run with his sacrifice fly.
"We work on that 100 times throughout the season, and I was just going too fast," Bellatti said.
The loss was the Rays' third in a row and sixth over their last 10 games, dropping them to 6 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card spot. Tampa Bay also fell to 2-12 in extra-inning contests, including Tuesday's marathon, which the club knew had several moments where it could have gone the other way.
"It's just a real shame that I couldn't put it away, finish that last inning," Bellatti said. "At the end of the day, if I had made that play, we would have been out of that inning."
Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.