Well, at least they made the suffering quick.
The Rays fell in quick order this afternoon to the Blue Jays in a game that lasted just over two hours. Entering the game, the Rays had limited success against R.A. Dickey, seeing him twice and scoring only four earned runs (six total) in 14 innings. This afternoon was more of the same, with Dickey leaving Rays' hitters helpless in his best start of the year.
Dickey pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out six. On the day, the Rays only had one ball in play that would qualify as hard contact: a line-out by Jose Molina in the sixth inning. Both of the hits were weak ground-balls that found holes in the infield. On another day, it might have been a no-hitter for Dickey. The Rays never really mounted a rally, with the three base runners spread out across the three innings. Desmond Jennings, after walking to lead off the seventh inning, reached second base with his ninth steal on the year. However, James Loney flew out to strand him at second base, and that would be the closest the Rays would get to scoring a run. Dickey has been far from his CY Young form this year, entering the game with a 5.15 ERA/FIP. But today he was brilliant from the start, striking out three of the first four batters and retiring the first 13 hitters in order. One can only hope that this is the last time the Rays have to face the Jay's pitcher this year.
Making his 15th start of the year, Roberto Hernandez did his best to keep the Rays in the game. He went eight strong innings, allowing six hits, two home runs and three runs while walking one and striking out five. As has been the case for much of the season. Hernandez was masterful much of the time but was hurt by a few mistakes. The two home runs were on off-speed pitches left up and in the middle of the zone. Even though he suffered the loss, Hernandez did a good job of eating innings and sparing the bullpen.
The Blue Jays scored their first run in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Bautista led the inning off the a double to right field. Wil Myers made a valiant diving attempt on the sinking line drive but came up just short; however, he kept the ball within the near distance to prevent Bautista from advancing to third. After a flyout by Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind advanced Bautista to third on a groundout. Up 0-1 in the count versus Melky Cabrera, Hernandez made his first mistake of the game, leaving a sinker up in the inner half of the plate that was laced to right center field to send home a run.
In the sixth inning, Adam Lind extended the Blue Jays lead to 2-0 with an opposite field home run onto the Captain Morgan's deck. The 3-2 pitch from Hernandez was what Brian Anderson fittingly labeled a cement mixer. The backdoor slider spun but it never broke.
Joe Maddon sent Hernandez back out in the ninth inning, but he allowed a lead off home run to Encarnacion on his 118th and final pitch of his outing. It was a change-up left over the heart of the plate; Encarnacion jumped all over it and launched it deep into the left field seats. Jamey Wright entered the game and finished the ninth inning in quiet fashion.
The Rays are off tomorrow before beginning a home series against the Detroit Tigers.