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Phil Maton disappointed with ‘entire body of work’ since joining Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays reliever Phil Maton just turned and watched the ball fly over the rightfield wall, as if he couldn’t believe it was happening again.

A day after giving up a three-run homer to Gunnar Henderson, Maton was a pitch away from wriggling out of a bases-loaded jam Sunday when Adley Rutschman crushed his curveball for a grand slam in the eighth inning of the Rays’ 9-2 loss to the Orioles at Tropicana Field.

“Extremely frustrating, especially kind of almost weaseling out of the leadoff triple (to Jordan Westburg),” Maton said. “I felt like I was making some good pitches. Still kind of the same issues that I’ve had the last couple outings where I’m just kind of spraying balls, I’m not competitive in the zone.

“Kind of same with Henderson’s home run (Saturday) night. I made a good pitch out of the zone, and he did what he does. He’s a good hitter. … In that situation, I think I probably made the wrong pitch selection. Maybe I should have gone back to fastball.”

Over his last two appearances, Maton has allowed seven earned runs on five hits and four walks in 1-1/3 innings. He has not struck out a batter.

“It has been a tough go,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “I think when you’re going through a stretch like this you can feel like nothing’s going right, and I would guess he would agree. Whether he’s falling behind or having to make a pitch that covers a lot of the strike zone, hitters are seeing it well right now.

“It looked like the ball that Adley hit was down and in, well down below the strike zone. I mean, that’s just a sign of not much going your way.”

Not much has gone Maton’s way this season. Signed to a $6.5 million, one-year deal in February, the 31-year old right-hander has an 0-2 record and 6.56 ERA, with 19 strikeouts and 17 walks over 23-1/3 innings.

“The entire body of work I’m extremely disappointed in, honestly,” Maton said. “I was brought over here to throw meaningful innings and bridge games and get things done. And right now, I’m just not executing pitches at a high enough level and getting guys out.”

Quality Littell

Zack Littell had another quality start Sunday, holding the Orioles to three runs over six innings. He allowed seven hits and one walk, striking out three.

And yet again, he has nothing to show for it.

With the Rays offense and bullpen struggling, Littell dropped to 2-4 for the season despite a team-high six quality starts, bringing his career total to 10.

“He did a nice job again. It’s kind of very similar outing to what he had against him in Baltimore, he kept us in the ballgame,” Cash said. “Zack’s effort is tremendous pretty much every time he takes the ball.”

Miscellany

Yandy Diaz had back-to-back multi-hit games for the first time since May 17-18 at Toronto. Sunday, he was the only Ray with a hard-hit ball, meaning more than 95 mph off the bat. … Randy Arozarena snapped an 0-for-15 drought with runners in scoring position with an RBI single in the sixth inning. … Rays pitchers allowed three triples, tying a club record from April 5, 2003 against the Yankees.

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