LOS ANGELES -- The Rays had every chance to reverse a trend of close losses that has defined their struggles following the All-Star break. Tampa Bay had just two hits in the first six innings in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. When they finally found a way to hit, they couldn't figure out how to score.
Six men were left on base in the last three innings. In the seventh, two pinch-hitters stranded runners after a pair of one-out walks. In the eighth, after the first three batters got hits, the next three combined for two strikeouts and a popup. And in the ninth, with the tying run on second base and one out, the Rays struck out twice.
"Another tight one," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're playing some tight ballgames and we're not finding ways to win them, that's for sure."
With runners in scoring position in the seventh, eighth and ninth, the Rays had a total of 11 swings and misses. The only hit with runners in scoring position came from Brade Miller, who doubled with no outs in the eighth inning to set himself up as the tying run at second.
Corey Dickerson saw three pitches with the tying runs in scoring position, and swung and missed at all three. Miller whiffed at three pitches to end the game. Tim Beckham, who batted with the tying run on second in the ninth, watched two fastballs go over the heart of the plate, before waving at a high fastball to strike out.
"I did not like my at-bat in the ninth," said Miller. "Obviously it's tough pitchers. They went to their bullpen. Guys that have been shutting it down for them. We tried to battle and came up a run short."
The Rays have played four-straight one-run games, and have lost all of them. Six of their last seven games have been one-run losses and their 7-17 record in one-run games is worst in baseball.
"I know the guys are frustrated," Cash said. "We're all frustrated. Just a little too little, too late today."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.