Baseball Is Fun Again In St.Pete – Rays Defeat Cardinals 6-3
Clutch Hitting, Solid Relief, & Defensive Gem Lead Rays To Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays were in danger of being swept for the fifth time in their last six series but were able to break their run scoring drought in defeating the St. Louis Cardinals by a final score of 6-3.
The victory snaps a six game interleague losing streak and ends a skid where they had lost 14 of their last 15 games beginning May 26, their worst 15-game stretch since June 25–July 12, 2007 (1-14)
Erik Bedard started for the Rays but only lasted four innings allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits striking out four and walking one. Brad Boxberger followed Bedard to the mound and worked a scoreless fifth inning but the win was credited to Juan Carlos Oviedo (2-2, 2.11 ERA) who worked the sixth inning and retired one batter in the seventh. Grant Balfour worked the final 2.1 innings to pick up his 10th save on the season and the Rays improve to 24-42 on the season.
Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88 ERA) took the loss for St. Louis (34-32) working just five innings and allowing four runs all earned on four hits walking four and striking out none.
In his 22 career starts Wacha had only given up 4 or more earned runs twice. The last time was September 19th of last season in Colorado against the Rockies. He had not given up more than 3 earned runs in his last 14 starts dating back to his final start against the Washington Nationals on September 24th.
He was facing a team that hadn’t held a lead since the fourth inning on Saturday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners. In fact they hand’t scored a run since the 2nd inning of that game.
The St. Louis Cardinals jumped out to what would seem an insurmountable lead against the Tampa Bay Rays when they plated a pair of runs in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Yadier Molina. As if they needed more cushion they pushed their lead to 3-0 in the third inning on an RBI single by Matt Carpenter.
The Rays came storming back in the bottom of the fourth inning. James Loney started with a excuse me swing 1-out single and moved to second on a soft line drive single by Ben Zobrist. David DeJesus was retired for the second out of the inning but Matt Joyce picked him up by lining a single in center that brought James Loney in from center and Peter Bourjos throw was offline allowing Zobrist to score all the way from first and the Rays had cut the Cardinals lead to 3-2.
Wacha lost control and extended the inning by walking Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan to load the bases. The Rays have struggles all year with the bases loaded hitting just .143 (6 for 42). Desmond Jennings fell behind 0-2 but jumped on a 1-2 fastball and lined a single into left field to plate both Joyce and Escobar.
With Bedard struggling and an off day tomorrow Joe Maddon went to his bullpen after the Rays grabbed the lead. Brad Boxberger came in and got into trouble loading the bases on a single, hit by pitch, and a walk.
The Rays defense would bail him out as Pete Bourjos sent a sharp liner into the alley in right center field but Kevin Kiermaier fully extended his body to snare the liner and preserve the Rays one run lead.
Juan Carlos Oviedo took over for Boxberger and worked a scoreless sixth inning and retired the first batter he faced in the seventh but hit Johnny Peratla and with left handed hitter Jon Jay due up lefty Cesar Ramos entered the game.
Ramos threw one pitch and retired Jay on a fly out to left and departed the game and Grant Balfour entered the game.
Balfour wasmaking his first appearance since being removed from the closers role after allowing five two-out runs to score in the Rays 5-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Balfour got Mark Ellis to ground into a fielders choice to end the inning.
The Rays added a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to 6-3. Desmond Jennings reached on a bunt single, moved to second on a Kevin Kiermaier walk, and came around to score on a Evan Lonogria single.
Balfour continued his outing into the eighth inning and retired the side in order and was allowed to come out to begin the ninth inning with an opportunity at picking up an old style save.