The first man up in the Rays’ rotation platoon again proved to be the weak link on bullpen day on Wednesday. “Starter” Ryan Yarbough struggled in his second time through the visiting Braves’ lineup, allowing five earned runs on six hits in a 5-2 loss to Atlanta.
“When I was executing and doing what I needed to do, I felt I was in control of the game,” Yarbrough said.
He did manage to strike out seven while walking none.
“Kind of a unique outing,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It looked like he got his punchouts and he got his swing and misses but he also had some at-bats that it seemed they were on everything so not quite sure what to make of it.”
Yarbrough, who was recalled from Triple-A Durham on May 1, was coming off his best outing of his career, throwing five innings of one hit against Toronto. In that game, the lefty came in relief of Andrew Kittredge, who struggled out of the gate and put the Rays in an early hole. Kittredge threw a perfect inning in relief on Wednesday.
Yarbrough ran into trouble in the top of the third after allowing consecutive singles by Charlie Culberson and Ozzie Albies to start the inning. Yarbrough then plunked Ronald Acuna Jr. to load the bases with no outs. Freddie Freeman lifted a lazy fly ball to left that was deep enough score Culberson on the sac fly. Nick Markakis cleared the bases with his seventh home run of the season.
“It was supposed to be a fastball in but I missed my spot,” Yarbrough said. “It was just not hitting my spots and executing.”
CJ Cron finally broke through against Atlanta starter Julio Teheran with a single –the first hit of the ballgame for the Rays — to lead off the bottom half of the fourth inning. Duffy doubled to left to put men on second and third with no out. Teheran would strike out Brad Miller and Wilson Ramos and induce a weak ground out to short by Joey Wendle to leave them stranded.
“It is promising that we’re still getting our hits but they’ve got to turn into runs eventually,” Cash said.
The Rays wasted another opportunity for a big inning in the eighth. Singles by Denard Span and Cron, and a walk by Duffy loaded the bases for Wilson Ramos, who managed to put the Rays on the scoreboard with a two-run single. The hit extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying for the longest by a Ray since James Loney in 2013 and the . Ramos’ streak, longest in franchise history among catchers, is just three games shy of tying the club record, held by Jason Bartlett (19) in 2009.
That would all that would come of it as Braves reliever AJ Minter struck out Miller and got pinch hitter Rob Refsnyder to fly out to center to end the threat. The Rays hitters combined to strand 19 runners on Wednesday.
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