And just like that, the Rays are on a winning streak. Lou Brown would be so proud.
Desmond Jennings homered and had two RBI and Evan Longoria doubled, homered and drove in four as the Rays kept the pressure on the Blue Jays pitching staff for the second night in a row.
Longoria got the party started in the first on a jam-shot liner over the second baseman to plate Ben Zobrist. Unfortunately, Jeremy Hellickson would give that run right back on a two-out RBI double to Adam Lind in the bottom half of the frame. The Rays would tack on another two in the second, but the Jays would tie it back up in the fourth.
Both Jennings' and Longo's jacks came in the three-run fifth, and pushed the Rays lead to 6-3, but that lead didn't feel safe in the bottom of the sixth when Hellickson was taken out of the game with a runner on. Jake McGee relieved Hellickson and gave up a ground-ball single to Kelly Johnson. Burke Badenhop entered next to face Jose Bautista and promptly walked him to load the bases(which is fine by me). J.P. Howell then entered to face Adam Lind, who has killed the Rays this series, but was able to catch a little BABIP luck when Lind lined out to Carlos Pena to end the inning. With the Jays scoring attempt thwarted, the Rays would cruise to a nine to four victory.
Hellickson was so-so on the evening: 5.2 IP, 3R, 2ER, 6H, 3BB, 4K. I feel like I've said this in every recap this season, but while the zone was a little wonky, I'm still not happy about the walks. Walks lead to baserunners, baserunners lead to pitch count, and pitch count leads to
the darkside an early exit and strain on the bullpen. Thankfully the bullpen would lock it down to pleasure town, with Howell and Peralta both pitching well. Fernando Rodney gave up a run in the ninth as he was planning on coming in for the save, but the Rays scored three in the top of the frame.
Bullets after the jump...
- Longoria and Sean Rodriguez both had errors tonight. Longo misfielded a sharp grounder from Edwin Encarnacion, and Rodriguez did his best Matt Garza impression when he threw a ball over Carlos Pena's head and allowed a run to score. What happened to pitching and defense? It's like Bizarro-Rays baseball on this road trip.
- Hellickson caught Jose Bautista looking for his first K of the night. Bautista watched a 91.7 MPH fastball go straight down the pipe for strike three. He was so frustrated that he then swung the bat while as he turned back to the dugout. I think it should be classified as a swinging strikeout. I'll try and grab a clip for the #TWSS.
- Bautista also got credited with an error in the second inning on his throw to home. SRod smacked a single to shallow right and Bautista came up gunning to throw out Joyce at home. The throw was perfect and would have had Joyce out by five feet, but J.P. Arencibia somehow missed the hop and the ball got by him. To make matters worse, it bounced off of pitcher Henderson Alvarez's collarbone and out of play, allowing Rodriguez to go to third and then score on a Desmond Jennings bouncer up the middle. And somehow Bautista, the one guy who did everything right, gets charged with the error.
- Rays head home back over .500 to face the Minnesota Twins tomorrow night. Matt Moore takes on Liam Hendricks @ 7:10. Let's hope the offense can keep the hits coming and can enjoy some Hendricks on the rocks. (Of all the recaps, in all the Rays blogs, in all the internet...)