The Toronto Blue Jays entered the game today with an 11-game winning streak, tied for their longest in franchise history, but the Tampa Bay Rays were able to end that streak and move ahead of the Blue Jays in the standings behind a dominant outing by starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson has been struggling to find his groove this season, as he entered the game today with a 5.50 ERA, more than two full runs above his career ERA entering the season. However, Hellickson was able to mix his pitches well and cool down the surging Blue Jays team, allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings with four walks and four strike outs.
Hellickson found himself in his first and only jam of the night in the second inning, when he walked Colby Rasmus with one out. J. P. Arencibia then singled him over to third, giving the Jays runners on the corners with one out. However, Hellickson escaped the jam by inducing a double-play ball off the bat of Maicer Izturis. That would be the only time the Jays got a runner in scoring position against him.
The Rays bats struck early, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead with one out in the second inning when James Loney, Wil Myers and Sam Fuld hit back-to-back-to-back homers. It was Loney’s ninth and Fuld’s second on the season, and it was the second home run in the young career of the phenom Myers, who made his ML debut in Boston last week. In fact, it was Myers’ first career at-bat at Tropicana Field, and he blasted a drive well over the center field wall, earning himself a curtain call from the excited Tampa fans.
The Rays would pad their lead in the third inning when Matt Joyce hit a lead-off single and scored on a one-out bloop double by Luke Scott.
The score would remain 4-0 until the eighth inning. The Rays brought in left-hander Alex Torres out of the bullpen. He entered the game having thrown 20 scoreless innings on the season, allowing just four hits and five walks while striking out 27 batters. He struck out Izturis to start the inning, but then allowed an infield hit to Emilio Bonifacio, walked Mark DeRosa and gave up a bloop single to Melky Cabrera, loading the bases with one out. Torres was able to limit the damage to one run though when he got Jose Bautista to bounce into a fielder’s choice and then Edwin Encarnacion flew out.
Closer Fernando Rodney came into the game in the ninth and struck out Adam Lind and Rasmus to get two quick outs. Arencibia then singled on a comebacker that deflected off of Rodney’s glove, but then Izturis grounded out to end the game, giving Rodney his 16th save of the season.
The Rays will look to hang onto fourth place in the AL East tomorrow when Mark Beurhle (4-4, 4.60 ERA) faces Matt Moore (9-3, 4.13 ERA) at 7:10 pm ET.
About the Author
Written by Will Creager
I'm currently a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, studying math and sports journalism. Sports are my passion, especially baseball.