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Pitching Sputters As Rays Lose 9-2 to Yankees

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Saturday afternoon's start against New York didn't go quite as well for Hellickson as his previous one this season. On July 19th the rookie went seven innings while allowing two runs and striking out seven. Saturday was a different story.

He didn't have a single clean frame and allowed eight hits and two walks in his 4.1 innings pitched. He had problems getting his fastball and changeup over for strikes. His strike percentage for those pitches was 62 and 65 percent. Compare that with the numbers from the July 19th start (70 and 68) and you can see why the Yankees had an easy time. Hellickson's plan was to keep everything away to the left handed hitters but that strategy failed in a big way. New York's lefties reached base 10 times against him, with Derek Jeter's single being the only other base runner.

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via www.brooksbaseball.net

The biggest moment in the game came in the fifth inning. Hellickson was replaced by Brandon Gomes after allowing a home run to Curtis Granderson and retiring Mark Teixeira. The next two batters were walked which loaded the bases for Jorge Posada. The 39 year old DH turned on an outside fastball and crushed it over the wall to deep right field, putting the Yankees up 7-0 and virtually ending any chance the Rays had at a victory. Gomes was replaced by Cesar Ramos, but he didn't fair much better. The two of them combined for a line of 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1K. Not a good night.

The offense struggled as well, picking up only five hits, striking out eight times and drawing just one walk. Desmond Jennings was the lone bright spot going 2-4 with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Johnny Damon followed that up with a triple and would score on a Ben Zobrist ground out.

With the loss the Rays move back to 8.5 games behind the Yankees for the Wild Card. Tomorrow James Shields takes the mound and looks to follow up his latest complete game with another solid outing in the Bronx.