Bullpen woes sink Rays in series vs. Giants

Bullpen woes sink Rays in series vs. Giants

ST. PETERSBURG -- They've been "The Dependables" for the Rays this year -- just not over the weekend.

For most of the season, the Rays have had a trio working at the back end of the bullpen that could be counted on to preserve the win. That troika consisted of Alex Colome, Erasmo Ramirez, and Xavier Cedeno.

All were unable to deliver against the Giants, who took a 5-1 win on Sunday to sweep the weekend series.

"It's going to happen," Cedeno said. "Sometimes it doesn't go our way. Just have to battle through it and be ready for next time."

In Saturday's 6-4 loss to the Giants, Colome surrendered a three-run homer to Joe Panik in the ninth inning to snap a streak of 19 scoreless appearances.

Earlier in Saturday's game, Ramirez gave up a game-tying single to Brandon Crawford in the eighth.

All told, the Rays' bullpen allowed nine runs in the three-game series -- eight over the final two games.

The final wheel came off on Sunday when Cedeno gave it up, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk in the eighth to take the loss.

"I missed my pitches and they took advantage of me," Cedeno said. "I didn't hit my spots and they hit it. They've got some really good hitters."

Gregor Blanco singled off Cedeno to start the eighth and advanced to second on Denard Span's sacrifice bunt. Panik then singled to right to drive home Blanco. Reliever Tyler Sturdevant also allowed a run in the inning.

"[The Giants] have been impressive," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They get down two strikes and they turn it on. They really grind through the at-bat and even our best pitches they're fighting off to get a little better pitch they can handle. And then they handle it.

"It's like today, they bunted the guy over. They executed the bunt, the guy gets on. He executes getting a ball he can handle and driving in the run to make it 2-1."

Cash called Cedeno "incredibly reliable" and pointed to his outing Saturday night when he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings as a possible contributing factor to what happened Sunday.

"Those left-handers, I think some of them had seen him the night before and they came up with a pretty good approach of going out there and trying to get the cutter," Cash said. "It worked to their advantage. And they got aggressive and looked for that first pitch, because [Cedeno is] not a guy you want to fall behind to. And they jumped on those first pitches for some big hits. That's pretty much the ballgame."

Cedeno's scoreless streak came to an end at six appearances on Sunday as he fell to 3-2 on the season.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.