The Rays' historic comeback Saturday night against the Angels undoubtedly left them up on cloud nine. Down 8-0, the Rays came back to score 7 runs in the sixth, and then tied it 8-all in the seventh, then Carlos Pena's two-run shot would be the deciding two runs as the Rays went on to win 10-8. You'd think that after a comeback like that, the Rays' energy tank would be at "E", but that wasn't the case in this potential-series-sweep game.
Zack Greinke was standing in the way of a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rays, and he looked anything but comfortable out there. In fact, Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, has had trouble finding any sort of success or consistency with his new team, having a bloated 5+ ERA before entering tonight's game. The Rays took the same approach as they did on Friday when they shelled Jered Weaver; get to Greinke early and often, shake him up, then continue to be aggressive at the plate.
It paid dividends, especially because today's win was not because of a one-man show; it was an all-around, group effort, with every player contributing in one way or another at the plate.
The scoring started in the second inning when Elliot Johnson was hit by a Greinke pitch, with the bases loaded allowing Ryan Roberts to score. Greinke then walked BJ Upton with the bases still juiced, making it a 2-0 game. Matt Joyce then singled home two runs to finish off a four-run inning, putting the Rays in great shape to complete the sweep.
Mike Trout, the sensational 20-year-old phenom for the Angels (who is also the frontrunner for both AL ROY and MVP at this point in the season) hit a solo shot off Matt Moore to put the Halos on the board in the fourth inning. Trout now leads the league in batting average (.343) and leads all of baseball in stolen bases with an astounding 39.
The Rays responded in the very next inning, with Ryan Roberts taking Greinke deep for a two-run homer, consequently ending Greinke's day on the mound. His numbers for the game were a testament to his struggles in LA: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, but he did have 8 strikeouts, so you could argue that he hasn't lost the ability to send batters back to the pine with their heads hanging.
In the sixth, the Angels cut their deficit back to four with another solo homer, this time off the bat of Albert Pujols. That would be the last batter Moore would face, ending yet another quality start for him.
Moore has really found his groove (it seems) on the mound. His only two blemishes on his start today were solo shots that come off the bats of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols; two extremely hard batters to get out, and even more difficult to keep from doing damage. Overall, Moore' start ended with 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, and he has now produced three consecutive quality outings.
Tampa Bay remains alone atop the Wild Card with Baltimore alone in the second spot standing a game behind them. The Rays also stand five games out of the division, as the Yankees won their Sunday night series finale against Boston.
Notable Stat Lines:
- M. Moore: (W,10-7) 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
- M. Joyce: 1-4, 2 RBI
- C. Pena: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI
- R. Roberts: 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI
- E. Johnson: 1-2, R, RBI, HBP
Rays News and Notes:
- The 37 runs scored in this series were the most the Rays have ever scored in a series.
- Jose Molina stole his third base of the season yesterday (out of four opportunities). He also has a nine-game hitting streak going....pretty impressive.
- Luke Scott (oblique) went 2-3 with two walks and a double with Class A+ Charlotte yesterday in his final rehab game. He'll be reactivated either today or tomorrow.
- Jeff Niemann (leg) made his third of fourth rehab start yesterday, this time with Triple-A Durham. It was another rough one for Niemann, who allowed 12 hits and four earned runs through 4.1 IP (76 pitches).
- The Rays return home after a successful 8-2 road trip to take on the Royals for a three-game set. Jeremy Hellickson (7-8, 3.39) will take the mound against Will Smith (4-4, 5.09 ERA).