Hellickson falters, Rays fall 6-1 to Diamondbacks

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Ross and Evan Longoria each homered along the way.

The injury to Desmond Jennings, a broken middle finger, led Joe Maddon to play a typical defensive alignment this evening, with Sean Rodriguez at first, Ryan Roberyts at second, Ben Zobrist in left field, and Sam Fuld in center.

The first two defensive outs: a sharply hit grounder to first base, and a fly ball to deep center, each recorded with the slick fielding of a professional.

The Fourth

Longoria got things started in the fourth, hitting a no-doubter into the left field bleachers on a pitch he read all the way.

Helly fed a 90 mph mistake to Eric Chavez near the middle of the zone, doubling in the tying run in the fifth. Helly then walked the next battle, chatted with Jim Hickey, and battled Cody Ross before allowing a three-run homer on another pitch, middle high and inside to the little man.

The catcher Nievas followed with a bloop single. Didi Gregarious then legged out a fielder's choice. Gregarious attempted a steal of second, but Lobaton sent his throw to the first base side of the bag, and Escobar was able to lay his glove on the face of the runner before he hit the ground sliding.

The Fifth

Hellickson singled for a two-out attempted-rally in the fifth, hitting a liner off Gregarious's glove and into left, his first major league hit. Escobar followed with a six pitch at bat to single up the middle, putting two men on with no outs for Ben Zobrist. He attacked the first pitch, and the liner went to Aaron Hill, positioned in the outfield grass behind second and robbing the liner.

Hellickson would only pitch four and two-thirds, ending with 90 pitches and a walk to Paul Goldschmidt. Helly was taking a long time to get batters, often using 7-9 pitches per plate appearance. His control was a bit of a mess, and his movement on pitches was terribly inconsistent. Hell boy needed lifting.

Back to the game. With Hellickson on the bench, the Arizona first basemen was able to steal on Jamey Wright's fifth pitch, a wild one in the dirt that bounce off the ground, behind Lobaton's glove, and ricocheted off his mask, allowing Goldy to move to third.

Eric Chavez then took Jamey Wright's two out, full count change up to left field to score the runner and give Helly his fifth credited earned run. Zobrist looked a little lost on that hard liner into left field. This was Zobrist's first start in left field since 2009. One has to wonder if the team would have been better suited with Sean Rodriguez in the outfield, as he's shared all season leading into this game.

The Seven

Jason Bourgeois, the journeyman outfielder who had his contract purchased from Durham this afternoon, got his chance as a pinch hitter for Sam Fuld this afternoon. Against the lefty Wade Miley, Bourgeois made great contact and lined one up the middle and into the pitcher's arm. Miley recovered with the throw to first.

Bourgeois was bookended by a Lobaton pop up, and a Luke Scott (hitting for Kyle Farnsworth) caught looking on a slider maybe outside a traditional strikezone map, but still very much a strike because he's a lefty and the strikezone is skewed for those guys.

Wil Myers took over in center field, his first inning there in a Rays uniform, after the Fuld substitution. Cesar Ramos got A.J. Pollock on three pitches, emphasized by the change up. The next batter reached base on a sky high chopper off home plate that landed after Adam Eaton reached first base, and Martin Prado hit one to the base of the wall, high over Myers's head in center.

Ramos walked Goldschmidt intentionally for the red hot Chavez, though luckily, Chavez lined into a double play. He would return for the eighth, and the Rays defense would prevent further damage that frame.

The Rays offense went silent in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.

Game Notes

- Myers walked in the sixth and advanced on an out, but Ryan Roberts struck out swining hard to end the threat, throwing his bat on the ground in anger. Surely he wanted to show off for his own team, in his old ballpark. The broadcase even found fans with their old "Tatman" signs.

- Kyle Farnsworth pitched a clean sixth inning, with two ground outs and a swinging strike out over nine pitches.

- A conversation like this:

BA: What's more impressive, Randy Johnson's ERA, or his hair?

DS: Both were on the cutting edge, so to speak.

- Ben Zobrist had a "cheat sheet" for defensive alignments in his back pocket for today's game.

- In the eighth inning, Bourgeois made a leaping catch in left field against the wall, robbing Aaron Hill of a home run. It wasn't pretty, as he landed with legs sprawled, but he got up there for the grab and that was something special.

- The Rays had only three base runners after the Diamondbacks started scoring runs, supported by Wade Miley and a decent effort by the Diamondbacks bullpen.

- Final Lines -- Miley: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 ER -- Hellickson: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K, 5 ER

- This was Hellickson's second consecutive start lasting only fourteen outs into the game.

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