Hellickson Allows One Run Over 7 Innings On Just 2 Hits
The Tampa Bay Rays avoided a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics as well as ending their five game losing streak in Oakland with a 7-3 victory. The impressive performance by the Rays resulted in Fox SunSports’ Todd Kalas delivering the tweet of the day.
Tampa Bay hasn’t looked this good against Oakland since Super Bowl XXXVII
— Todd Kalas (@TampaBayTK) August 6, 2014
With their win Wednesday afternoon the Rays improve to 55-59 and trail the Orioles in the AL East by 9.5 games and the Toronto Blue Jays in the second wild card by 5.5 games.
The star for the Rays was Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61 ERA) who had struggled in his first three starts failing to make it out of the fifth inning in each.
On Wednesday afternoon he resembled the Jeremy Hellickson of 2011 and 2012 – the guy who went 23-21 with a 3.20 ERA and less like the pitcher that went 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA last year.
It was the first win for Hellickson over his previous six starts dating back to September 4, 2013.
He delivered seven shut down innings allowing just one run on a solo homer to Eric Sogard (first home run in 110 games) while allowing just two hits striking out three and walking one. It was the first start that he pitched more than five innings in his last six starts dating back to September 12, 2013 (career long streak).
While Hellickson was shutting down the A’s offense the Rays took advantage of Oakland starter Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.87 ERA) knocking him out of the game after just 4.1 innings pushing across seven runs (six earned).
The 10 hits allowed by Gray were a career-high and the six earned runs matched a career high. His 4.1 innings was the second shortest outing of his career (3.1 innings at Baltimore August 25, 2013).
Entering the game he had a six-game streak of allowing one earned run or fewer which was the longest streak (matching Cody Lidle Aug 4-31, 2002) dating back to at least 1914.
The victory finishes off a daunting nine games stanza for the Rays which pitted them against the National League Central leading Milwaukee Brewers (62-51), the AL Wild Card leading Los Angeles Angeles (67-45), and the AL West Leading Oakland Athletics (69-44).
The Rays finished with a record of 4-5 in the nine games and come through with an overall record of 55-59. When the nine games started they trailed the Baltimore Orioles by 7.5 games in the American League East and the Toronto Blue Jays by 4.5 games for the second wild card.
With their win Wednesday afternoon the Rays the Rays improve to 55-59 and trail the Orioles by 9.5 games and the Toronto Blue Jays by 5.5 games.
Kevin Kiermaier drove in the Rays first run on a ground out in the second inning and then in the fourth inning he delivered his first home run since his grand slam against the Kansas City Royals on July 9th. It was his ninth home run of the season and came with a man on to push the Rays lead to 3-0.
Yunel Escobar‘s two hits pushed his average to .315 (23 for 73) in the 20 games since returning from the disabled list on July 11th. James Loney‘s two hits extended his on-base streak to 25 games where he is batting .343 (34 for 99) over that span. His 25 games streak is the second longest of his career and the second longest current streak in the majors behind Denard Span‘s 32 games streak.
Evan Longoria‘s bat continues to heat up as he extended his hitting streak to seven games going 8 for 26 (.286) over that span.
Jose Molina had a pair of hits and a walk – the first such game for him since June 23, 2013 against the New York Yankees. Remarkably, one of Molina’s hits on Wednesday afternoon was an infield single.
The Rays will have a day off on Thursday before opening a three game weekend series against the Chicago Cubs at 4:05 Friday when Chris Archer (7-6, 3.42 ERA) takes on left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.32 ERA).
On Saturday at 4:05 Jake Odorizzi (7-9. 4.09 ERA) will take on Edwin Jackson (6-11, 5.66 ERA). The series wraps up Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. when Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.52 ERA) takes on left hander Travis Wood (7-9, 5.10 ERA).