The Tampa Bay Rays improved their record to 77-61 by defeating the L.A. Angels by a final score of 3-1. It was Jeremy Hellickson‘s first victory since July 26th.
The Rays remain 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox who trounced the Detroit Tigers 20-4. They remain 2.5 games behind both the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers for the top wild card spot as the A’s defeated the Rangers 11-4 to draw even in the AL West. They maintained their 2.5 games lead on the New York Yankees who defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-5.
The Rays got their three runs on a the strength of two home runs by Wil Myers. He hit a solo home run in the 2nd inning and a 2-run shot in the top of the 7th. It was the second time this season that Myers has hit 2-homers in a game. On July 28th in Yankee Stadium he connected on a pair of homers against Phil Hughes.
Jeremy Hellickson (11-8, 5.04 ERA) was making his first start since allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in just 2.2 innings versus the Kansas City Royals on August 26th. His start against the Royals continued a string of 6 depressing starts dating back to July 31 and over that span he went 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA (25IP/25ER). His performance resulted on his being sent to the High A Charlotte Stone Crabs for a mental break which last 7 full days.
Before the game Joe Maddon expressed a desire to have Hellickson duplicate the outing that Matt Moore delivered last night (5.1 innings, 1 run, and depart with a lead). He got what he wanted as Hellickson delivered 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball allowing just 4 hits striking out 4 and walking just 2. Hellickson made 71 pitches of which 64.8 (45 of 71) were strikes. He threw 21 two-seam fastballs, 10 four-seam fastballs, 29 change ups, and 9 curveballs.
The Rays bullpen was called upon to take the Rays to the finish line. Alex Torres took over for Hellickson with Mike Trout at 2nd and 1-out in the bottom of the 6th inning and Josh Hamilton at the plate. He retired Hamilton on a ground out, hit Kole Calhoun with a pitch, and retired Mark Trumbo on a ground out to end the inning. He has now allowed only 19% (4 of 21) inherited runners to score.
Jake McGee came in to work the 7th inning and immediately allowed a pinch hit solo homer to Chris Iannetta to cut the Rays lead to 3-1 but that would be all that they would get against McGee. It was the 8th home run allowed by McGee this year which leads all Rays relievers.
The Rays and Angles will finish their 2013 match up tomorrow evening at 10:10. The Rays will be looking to take 3 out of 4 in the series and David Price (8-6, 3.30 ERA) will take the and the Angels will counter with Jerome Williams (5-10, 4.68 ERA).