August 3, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton (2) hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. This was B.J. Upton (2) 100 career home run. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
James Shields delivered a complete game shutout holding the potent Rangers lineup to only two hits while striking out 8 and walking none in a series winning 6-0 shutout victory for the Rays. It's hard to upstage a complete game shut out but B.J. Upton smacking three homers may have done just that. It's hard to say who should get Top Billin.
With his 3 homers Upton extends his team lead to 21 and he also leads the team in RBI with 66 and stolen bases with 29. He is trying to become the first Rays player in team history to lead the team in all 3 categories. He also notched his 3rd career 20 homer 20 stolen base season.
Shields continues to impress and over his last 8 starts (July 31st in Oakland) he has a record of 7-1 with an ERA of 1.89. With the victory today he improves his overall record to 14-8 with a 3.71 ERA. The victory improves the Rays record to 77-63 as they prepare to take on the Orioles in Baltimore starting Tuesday.
It was an impressive series victory for the Rays as the Rangers came into St. Petersburg seemingly leading the world in just about every offensive category possible but the old expression good pitching defeats good hitting held true. Rays starters combined to hold the Rangers to 3R/3ER on 10 hits whiles striking out 24 and walking 3. In the series the Rays pitching staff worked a total of 30 innings giving up 5R/5ER, on 14 hits while striking out 35 and walking just 4.
Roy Oswalt (4-3, 6.29 ERA) started for the Rangers and was ineffective and had soreness in his right flexor in lasting only 2 innings giving up 4R/ER on 6 hits while striking out 1 and walking 1. He was replaced by Martin Perez who worked 5+ innings allowing 2R/ER on 7 hits while striking out 3 and walking 1. Yoshinori Tateyama came in and worked a scoreless 8th inning. The loss drops the Rangers to 83-57 on the season.
Game Highlights After The Jump
The Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With Desmond Jennings getting another day to rest his sore back BJ Upton was moved into the leadoff spot and deposited Roy Oswalt's first pitch fastball to right-center for a solo homer to put the Rays up 1-0. Oswalt then issued a 1-out walk to Ben Zobrist and a single to Evan Longoria to put runners at 1st and 2nd and then retired Ben Francisco on a fly ball to left but he was unable to escape further damage as Matt Joyce delivered an opposite field double scoring Zobrist and give the Rays a 2-0 lead..
The 2nd inning started off where the first inning left off for the Rays who increased their lead to 4-0 . Carlos Pena hit an opposite field single and was followed by Jose Molina's 6th home run on the season tying his career high.
The 4th inning started off with a B.J. Upton solo blast to left on a 3-0 pitch to give the Rays a 5-0 lead and the Rays scoring was capped by B.J. Upton's 3rd homer of the day in the bottom of the 6th inning.