ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to Wednesday night's game between the Rays and Tigers, Kevin Kiermaier and Grant Balfour could be seen discussing what transpired in Tuesday night's 8-6, 11-inning loss.
Balfour started the 11th for the Rays with the score tied at 5 and Ian Kinsler opened the inning with a sinking drive to right. Kiermaier dove to try for the catch, but the ball bounced off his glove and kept on rolling. By the time the right fielder got the ball back to the infield, Kinsler stood on third with a triple.
Balfour proceeded to walk Torii Hunter before Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases for Victor Martinez, who also walked to force in a run and chase Balfour.
After the game, Balfour was candid with reporters about his thoughts, particularly concerning the play that Kiermaier did not make.
"That's the story of my season," Balfour said. "... I see guys go out and make the same pitch and a play gets made, and I feel like it's frustration for me because time in and time out that play hasn't been made [for me]. It's been tough. ... Obviously [if] he comes up with it, I'm sitting one out, nobody on, or stay back and it's a runner on first. ... Can pitch a little more when I have a runner on first, as opposed to a runner on third."
Kiermaier said everything was fine between the two.
"That's just how his season's been going for him," Kiermaier said. "And that's something I took into consideration, too, he hasn't had great luck this season with things like that.
"I did that one [other] time when he was pitching against Kansas City when we were here and even in Texas last week when [Matt] Joyce or [Brandon] Guyer did it. It seems like other times when other guys are pitching we make that play and balls are just hit in the perfect spot when he's been going."
Said Balfour: "No, it's OK, I was just frustrated."
Kiermaier, who prides himself on his defense, still wasn't happy about not making the play.
"I expect to make that play," Kiermaier said. "I still have kind of a loss for words that I didn't catch that ball."
Despite the blown chance, Kiermaier said he won't let that one play alter his hair-on-fire style of play.
"No [it won't]," Kiermaier said. "Like I said, I wouldn't have dove if I wasn't 100 percent that I was going to catch the ball. I just didn't. I don't have an answer. I just didn't catch the ball. It's one of those things where if I would have dove and it would have bounced three feet in front of me, he could have let me have it. ... But right there, I should have had the ball."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less