Hellickson Backed By Power Trio, Rays Defeat Jays 4-1
Jeremy Hellickson delivered a quality start and was backed by a trio of consecutive homers in the 2nd inning as the Rays ended the Toronto Blue Jays 11 game winning streak by a final score of 4-1.
Jeremy Hellickson (6-3, 5.11 ERA) delivered 7 strong scoreless innings allowing only 1 hit striking out 4 and walking 4. He threw 96 pitches, 59 for strikes, and threw a first pitch strike to 19 of 24 batters he faced. He walked Colby Rasmus with 1-out in the bottom of the 2nd inning ending a streak of four straight starts without issuing a walk - a club record he shares with James Shields. His last walk was to Marcell Ozuna of the Miami Marlins in the top of the 3rd inning on May 28th . With 1.1 innings without a walk tonight he holds the club record for consecutive innings without a walk at 26.1.
Joe Maddon said that when he shook Hellickson's hand after taking him out of the game that "he had that look, that satisfied look. That felt good. That what its supposed to feel like. Out of all the starts this year that he may have pitched well tonight was the game that can really right the ship for him."
Alex Torres worked himself into trouble in the 8th loading the base on two singles and a walk to load the bases but retired Jose Bautista on a RBI fielders choice and Edwin Encarnacion on a fly out to right to end the inning to limit the damage to just 1 run. With the earned run he fell two outs shy of Joe Borowski's club record of 21 consecutive scoreless innings in one season. His 25.1 innings stretching back to September 24, 2011 is the second longest in team history behind J.P. Howell's 27.1 IP in 2012.
Fernando Rodney came in to work a scoreless 9th to pick up his 16th save on the year. He had struck out the first two hitters he faced to run his streak of strike out victims to 6 in a row (dating back three appearances) before allowing a single to J.P. Arencibia. He retired Maicer Izturis on a ground out to 2nd to end the inning. It was Rodney's 7th consecutive save.
The highlight of the night came in the second inning when James Loney, Wil Myers, and Sam Fuld hit back to back to back homers in the bottom of the 2nd inning. It was the first time in franchise history that the Rays hit back-to-back-back homers at Tropicana Field. Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar, and Dioner Navarro did it for the Rays in Los Angeles on June 9, 2008.
For Wil Myers the homer measured at only 428 feet only because it was stopped by the back wall in straight away center field. It was a special moment for Myers as it was his first plate appearance at Tropicana Field. After he rounded the bases and got back to the dugout the 11,407 in attendance stood and demanded a curtain call to which Myers obliged.
After the game he said of the fans, "they were definitely great. They were very welcoming. It was really cool to be out there in front of them...I wasn't sure what, really to do. I heard everybody cheering so I thought that might be my cue to go out there. It was really cool. The fans were great tonight."
Myers continues to show maturity and does not seem intimidated by major league baseball. After the game Joe Maddon said "He's got a real disarming kind of sense of humor. He's comfortable. He's not overwhelmed whatsoever. He'll ask questions - good questions. The reason why I took him out after his last at bat was that he was not used to the roof, that's it. He's going to be a very good outfielder as he plays more here and he gets used to the roof. The ball comes off the bat hot with him. It makes a different sound - he's one of those guys. The thin that I like is all the stuff has been going to the middle of the field it's nice to see that".
For James Loney it was his 9th home run and he is now averaging a home run every 28.6 at bats this year compared to 50.4 at-bats spanning from 2008-2012.
Sam Fuld hit his 2nd homer of the season and it was the second in his last 16 games after hitting only 4 homers in his first 288 career games.