St. Petersburg, Fla. — A five-run third inning and an assembly line of relievers sent the Detroit Tigers to their third straight loss Tuesday, 5-2, to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The skidding Tigers have lost 17 of 21.
Detroit didn’t get its second hit until John Hicks’ two-out infield single in the seventh against Adam Kolarek, who allowed Nick Castellanos’ RBI double and a run-scoring single by Niko Goodrum in ninth.
“We made a little bit of a run there at the end, but one inning cost us the ballgame,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Wilson Ramos is on a roll lately, and so are the Rays.
Ramos hit a three-run homer, and five Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
The Rays (47-44) moved three games above .500 for the first time since Aug. 6 last year after posting their 13th win in the last 14 home games.
“I’m very excited for me and my team,” Ramos said. “I like to have fun.”
Tampa Bay lost its bid for a third shutout in four games when the Tigers scored twice in the ninth. After blanking the Mets in New York on Saturday and Sunday, the Rays outslugged the Tigers 10-9 in 10 innings Monday night.
“Our pitching picked us up big-time,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We had a hiccup last night and they certainly hit the reset button. Really an outstanding performance top to bottom with our pitching.”
Ramos, elected to start at catcher for the American League in next week’s All-Star Game, keyed a five-run third inning when he connected off Matthew Boyd (4-8) for his 14th homer. That tied John Flaherty (1999) for the most in a season by a Tampa Bay catcher.
“The news about the All-Star Game, I’m more excited right now,” Ramos said. “I’m trying to go out there happy.”
In the final year of his contract and expected to be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline, Ramos has five homers and 15 RBIs over his last 12 games.
Ryne Stanek pitched two innings as the opener for the Rays on their latest bullpen day. He allowed a first-inning single to Niko Goodrum.
Jose Alvarado (1-3) and Jaime Schultz followed Stanek, and both tossed two hitless innings.
Sergio Romo got the final out for his 10th save.
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias exited in the eighth with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch from Kolarek.
Gardenhire said X-rays were negative and Iglesias will “probably miss a day or so.”
Stanek has made 11 starts – totaling 16 2/3 innings – since May 26, with 10 of them being scoreless outings.
Boyd gave up five runs and four hits in six innings. The lefty is 0-4 over his last six starts, allowing 28 runs in 28 innings during that stretch.
“I made a bad pitch to Ramos and that’s about it,” said Boyd, who struck out eight.