ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15: Shortstop Reid Brignac #15 of the Tampa Bay Rays applies the tag to Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox on a steal attempt during the game at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Jeremy Hellickson (7-5) looked sharp through six innings, but the Rays needed more. Paired against the elite Josh Beckett (6-2), the Rays young right-hander had an immense task at hand. Hellboy finished his night allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out only 2 (which is not so great). Unfortunately, two of those hits -- as well as one of those walks (an intentional BB to Adrian Gonzalez) -- came in the game-changing 7th inning.
The inning started poorly with Jacoby Ellsbury fighting through a 9-pitch at bat, spoiling Hellickson's otherwise brilliant pace. Then Dustin Pedroia tripled on a near-homer to right field. The Rays then put Gonzalez on base, only to watch Kevin Youkilis pop a homer to left field.
Of course, the free pass did not pan out for the Rays, but it proved a moot point. The only hit -- and only base runner -- the Tampa Bay hitters could muster, an infield single off Reid Brignac's bat, was certainly insufficient to come back from a 1-run deficit, much less a 3-run deficit.
Notes from the game:
- John Jaso caught a base stealer! A league leader no less!!! Everyone take a shot!
- What else can you say? The pitchers did their job, but Beckett was too much tonight.
- Oh, I know what to say: Hak-Ju Lee was 3 for 5 with 2 steals (and 1 caught stealing) today. This 20-year-old shortstop has a 127 wOBA+ in a league 2.7 years older than him. Durham, plz?