Porcello Silences Rays Bats As Martinez Slams Tigers To Victory
When the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees on Friday night there was a sense of accomplishment of coming from all the way back from 18-games under .500 to even their record. With the micro-goal achieved the team could move ahead and begin the next series of micro-goals by catching a few of the teams in front of them and setting the stage for a strong September playoff push. Unfortunately, the hopes of a playoff run have been dimmed considerably as the Rays have lost their last four games including a 6-0 shutout at the hands of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
The loss pushes the Rays to a distant 12.5 games behind the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles and a seemingly insurmountable eight games in the wild card.
Once again the Rays received a solid start from a member of their rotation as Jake Odorizzi (9-10, 3.83 ERA) pitched into the seventh inning departing with a runner at first with two outs and the Rays trailing just 2-0. Kirby Yates came in and allowed a single to Torii Hunter and walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases. Victor Martinez connected on a 1-2 fastball to deliver a grand slam to put the Tigers up 6-0.
The runs were a nice cushion for Tigers starter Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10 ERA) but he would only require one run on the evening. He had not defeated the Rays at Tropicana Field since June 30, 2012 and the last time he saw the Rays on July 6th in Detroit he allowed 11 hits and seven earned runs.
On Wednesday night he dominated the Rays offense tossing a complete game shutout holding the Rays to just three hits striking out four and walking none. It was his third shutout this season which is the most in the American League and he is now tied with Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins for the Major League lead. He becomes the first Tigers hurler to have three shutouts in a single season since Jeff Weaver in 2002.
The offense was dormant most of the night as 20 Rays batters were retired in between Ben Zobrist‘s first inning double to and James Loney‘s eighth inning single. It was the American League high 15th time the Rays have been shutout this season and second most in the majors behind the San Diego Padres (16). Only two other seasons in Rays history have they been shut out as many times – 1998 (17) and 2011 (15).