The Tampa Bay Rays returned home from an impressive 8-2 road trip through Toronto, Boston, and New York and defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 in the first of a 5-game home stand before heading out west. The victory improves the Rays to a season high 21-games over .500 at 64-43. They are now 21-4 in July, have won 11 of their last 13, 19 of 22, 23 of 27, and 26 of 32, and improve to a major league best 10-1 in interleague play.
Roberto Hernandez (6-11, 4.71 ERA) came 1-out away from tossing a complete game shutout but he gave up a 2-out 2-run home run to Eric Chavez. In throwing a complete game he only allowed 5 hits struck out 6, walked 1, and hit a batter. He threw 102 pitches, 70 for strikes, and 21 of 32 first pitch strikes.
It was his first complete game since September 10, 2010 against the Minnesota Twins when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians under the name Fausto Carmona.
He appeared to be in trouble in the first inning after hitting the leadoff batter Gerrardo Parra and gave up a single to Aaron Hill to bring the Diamondbacks most potent bat to the plate in Paul Goldschmidt. Hernandez got him to turn over on a ball and was rewarded with a double play and then retired Eric Chavez on a ground out to first. They had two on with 1-out in the 3rd but Hernandez once again got a double play ball to end the inning.
It wasn’t until 2-out in the ninth that the Diamondbacks finally broke through as Eric Chavez golfed an inside changeup down the right field line which hit he foul pole to cut the Rays lead to 5-2. Hernandez didn’t become rattled as he got Martin Prado to ground out to Evan Longoria to end the game.
The Rays jumped on Ian Kennedy (3-8, 5.23 ERA) for 2-runs in the first inning. Desmond Jennings led off the game with a hustle double which set the tone for the “no let down” Rays. He came around to score on a single by Ben Zobrist. After Zobrist was erased on a fielders choice off the bat of Evan Longoria James Loney sent a ball off the wall in right center field and Longoria hustled all the way around from first to score on a bang bang play at the plate.
Yunel Escobar gave the Rays a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 4th with his 8th home run on the year an opposite field solo shot. Escobar wasn’t done as he delivered a RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 6th to put the Rays up 4-0.
The Rays finished the scoring on a RBI double off the bat of Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the 8th.