The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees by a final score of 10-6 and after the Boston Red Sox were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles the Rays took sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first this season . The Rays have won 18 of 21 games in the month of July, 20 of their last 23 games, and are 6-1 on their current 10-game road trip to improve to a season high 19 games over .500 at 61-42.
Jeremy Hellickson (10-3, 4.48 ERA) did not bring his A game to the mound tonight. “Helly [Hellickson] kind of in the bend but not break mode tonight, he wasn’t really sharp as he can be.” said manager Joe Maddon.
In picking up the win Hellickson worked 6 innings allowed 1R/ER on 4 hits striking out 3 and walking 2. He threw 102 pitches, 57 for strikes, and only 13 of 24 first pitch strikes.
The Rays offense provided him with an early lead with 6 runs against C.C. Sabathia (9-9, 4.65 ERA) in the 2nd inning highlighted by an RBI double Yunel Escobar, an RBI single by Sam Fuld, a beautiful bunt by Desmond Jennings that catcher Chris Stewart threw away allowing Jose Lobaton to score, a 2-RBI double by Evan Longoria, and a RBI single by Wil Myers.
James Loney wasn’t done and in the top of the 7th inning as he gave the Rays a commanding lead with his 10th home run of the year, a 3-run shot, to put the Rays on top 10-1.
Kyle Farnsworth worked a scoreless 7th inning and turned the ball over to Cesar Ramos to work the 8th inning. Ramos had not worked since July 10 when he worked 2/3 of an inning against the Minnesota Twins.
The rust showed for Ramos as he worked 1.1 innings allowing 2R/ER on 3 hits striking out 1. He was replaced by Jamey Wright who couldn’t get anyone out. He faced 5 batters allowing 4 hits and a walk. He was replaced by Jake McGee who came in and retired Alfonso Soriano on a ground out that drove in a run to cut the Rays lead to 10-6.
Every starter in the Rays lineup had at least 1-hit with Wil Myers, James Loney, and Sean Rodriguez each collecting 2. James Loney extended his hitting streak to 5 games and Evan Longoria extended his to 8 straight games.
With his 2-hits Wil Myers extend his multi-hit game streak to 7 games in a row and is now 2nd in franchise history behind Carl Crawford who had 8 mulit-hit games in a row in 2007.
The victory may have felt better if the bullpen didn’t fail and allow the game to get tight at the end but Joe Maddon said of the evening, “It’s not always an oil painting.”