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Faria fantastic as Rays flounder against Phillies

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays starter Jake Faria had his best outing of the season, allowing just one run on two hits in a 2-1 loss against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies at Tropicana Field on Friday. He struck out a season-high seven and walked two in five-plus innings.

“(I know) that (the ability) is in there,” Faria said. “It didn’t disappear so that’s good to have a game like that.”

Faria, who came into the game with a 14.29 ERA through his first two starts, walked Phillies leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez to start the game but went on to retire the next 13 batters he faced. The Phillies didn’t manage their first hit until Nick Williams singled with one out but was picked off by Wilson Ramos.

With one out in the sixth, J.P. Crawford doubled off Faria, who walked the next batter, Hernandez. Faria was relieved by Jose Alvarado who gave up a bloop single to Carlos Santana, allowing the inherited run to score.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Faria said. “I’m disappointed to lose a very close ballgame but a big step compared to last game.”

Faria had to settle for the no decision after the Rays offense struggled against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. The Rays’ lone run came in the second after CJ Cron sneaked a single through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mallex Smith sliced a single down the left field line to score Cron and give the Rays an early lead. The Rays missed a chance to tack on another in the fourth. With Cron aboard, Matt Duffy popped a weak fly ball down the right field line. Aaron Altherr bobbled the ball for an error. Duffy was thrown out at second after oversliding the bag just before Cron could cross home plate.

“We didn’t capitalize,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We couldn’t string any hits together, for sure.”

Closer Alex Colome continued his early season struggles, taking the loss after a double off the wall by Phillies third baseman Scott Kingery set up the go-ahead RBI single by Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro.

“To me, this did not come down to Alex Colome’s performance, ” Cash said. “It was probably more our lack of offense and a couple of quirky plays that took place.”

The Rays 3-10 record is the worst start to a season in franchise history.

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