Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays

Watch: Rays give up folly-filled Little League home run to A’s

The Tampa Bay Rays’ success has largely been built on terrific fundamentals and smart baseball. You wouldn’t know that watching against the A’s, though.

After the first weekend of the 2022 MLB season, the only undefeated team remaining in baseball was the Tampa Bay Rays. And with a series coming up against the Oakland A’s, a team projected to be among the worst in the league this year, that seemed like it could only get better.

That has decidedly not been the case, however. The Rays entered the fourth game of the series on Thursday at home against Oakland trailing 2-1 in the series and having found themselves on the wrong end of a 13-2 blowout on Monday.

Somehow, they still reached a new low in the Thursday afternoon matchup.

In the second inning with two runners aboard, A’s centerfielder Christian Pache put a nice hit into left center that either Randy Arozarena or Kevin Kiermaier should’ve been able to handle. Instead, Arozarena botched the groundball and saw it run all the way to the wall. That allowed the two runners to come to the plate. But to make matters worse, Kiermaier bobbled the pickup, thus allowing Pache to round the bases and give the Athletics an early 3-0 lead.

A’s hit inside-the-park home run thanks to Rays errors

Officially, the play was ruled as a single with an error on Arozarena. At home, though, this is what we like to call a Little League home run. You know, when the youngsters can’t get the ball into the infield and the batter hits a proverbial inside-the-park home run as a result.

The bleeding and woes for Tampa Bay didn’t stop there. Oakland continued to pour it on early as they built a 6-1 lead after five innings. A Brandon Lowe home run — the traditional way — helped make it closer, but the Rays were still in real danger of dropping the series to the lowly A’s.

With plays like this one, it’s hard to say that they deserved to win the series in the first place.

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