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Rays lose to MLB-worst White Sox on walkoff home run in 10th inning

CHICAGO — There were, to be fair, some things the Rays did right on Saturday.

Richie Palacios reached base six times, Ben Rortvedt five. Randy Arozarena got an actual big hit. Austin Shenton smacked his first big-league homer. Kevin Kelly had the best of several strong relief appearances.

But there was so much the Rays did wrong, most notably losing for a second straight night to the MLB-worst White Sox, a team that had won only three of 25 games before the Rays stumbled into town.

Even worse Saturday, 8-7 on a two-run, 10th-inning walkoff home run by Andrew Benintendi off Phil Maton.

“Yeah, I mean, tough loss. Really back and forth. A lot of runs on their end, our end, kind of battling back and forth, so absolutely a really tough loss there,” Rortvedt said. “Obviously, it’s their first series win, but it’s just another series. These guys are a major-league ballclub, and they’re going to win their games, but this was a pretty tough loss for us.”

The game featured, as many played by the 13-15 Rays have lately, a series of wasted scoring opportunities, some defensive mistakes and a few misplaced pitches. Plus, this one had a baserunning gaffe by Rortvedt.

“We’re not doing very good right now,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ve got to turn it around.”

But it also included a rare move by Cash, who pulled centerfielder Jose Siri from the game after he didn’t hustle for a second-inning ground ball up the middle by Eloy Jimenez, who took advantage and turned it into a double.

“Just didn’t like the way he went after the ball for Jimenez to get there,” Cash said, adding he considered the incident addressed and over with.

Siri said he had a different view from the field, that he didn’t charge because he expected one of the infielders to make the play. He also said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro, he was “mad initially” and “a little embarrassed” by Cash’s decision, “but once I knew I messed up the play, I knew that it was something that just happens and that’s why they took me out. I still think I’m one of the best.”

The Rays built a 3-0 lead, the first time since April 21 they scored first, thanks to Rortvedt and Palacios. Aaron Civale got to the fourth, but gave back the lead and more, charged with six runs — some due to the sloppy defense — and was unable to finish the fifth.

Leading 4-3, the Rays had a messy sequence in the fifth. Civale gave up three straight hits, which got the Sox one run. Shawn Armstrong replaced him with one out, got a ground ball, but Amed Rosario’s throw home wasn’t in time to get Tommy Pham.

Then the Sox made it 6-4 when Benintendi popped up a ball that somehow dropped between centerfielder Randy Arozarena, leftfielder Niko Goodrum and shortstop Jose Caballero, who first broke back toward centerfield, then reversed course as the ball fell on the leftfield side.

“As soon as he turned his back, it was going to make it really difficult on himself,” Cash said. “It was obviously a lot of wind, and it was going every direction (Saturday). They seemed to handle it well. We didn’t.”

The Rays got even in the sixth on a two-run double by Arozarena, his first multi-RBI game of the season, for which he has a .154 average and .488 OPS.

They had a prime chance to go ahead in the eighth. Rortvedt led off with a drive that hit the yellow padding at the top of the rightfield fence. It initially was called a homer but was overturned on a crew chief replay review. Rortvedt, seeing the umps signal home run, was in a casual trot. As a result, the umpires placed him at first base after the replay review.

Rortvedt said he “wasn’t really sure” what the ruling was. Cash said it was simple: “You’ve got to run,” and noted the mistake penalized the team.

The Rays still ended up with the bases loaded and one out, thanks to an infield error, a sac bunt and an intentional walk of Palacios to face two of their typically dangerous hitters, Arozarena and Isaac Paredes. It worked, as both popped out, adding to the frustration of the Rays’ night, going 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 men on.

“There were a lot of situations, I felt, throughout the game that we got one, maybe two, but we didn’t keep putting pressure on and kind of allowed them to stay in the game and then ultimately win the game,” Cash said.

The Rays got one run in the 10th as Curtis Mead moved up and around on two wild pitches, but nothing more. Caballero and Goodrum (a switch-hitter Cash let hit vs. right-hander Deivi Garcia rather than pinch-hitting Harold Ramirez or Yandy Diaz) struck out, and after Palacios was walked again Arozarena flew out.

Maton got one quick out, but then threw a first pitch sweeper that Benintendi apparently was looking for, and that was that.

“Simply wrong pitch,” Maton said, blaming himself for the decision. “That’s just into his bat path, good swing, home run, nothing you can do about it. ... I think we got a little cute there, we kind of went away from kind of a fastball-curveball approach there and tried to steal a strike there and get ahead. He put a good swing on it. Happy with the pitch overall, but just wrong pitch in that situation.”

It was that kind of night.

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