After a major off-day against Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday in the Tampa's 5-0 loss, the Rays' offense got right back on track Sunday afternoon for the rubber match of this three-game series in Cleveland.
Jeremy Hellickson was on the mound for the Rays, looking to finally have a quality start against one of baseball's best offensive teams. Right from the get-go, Helly appeared to be improved, but once again he would run into that one big inning that's been hurting him all season.
The Rays struck first in this ballgame, scoring two runs in the first from a James Loney tw0-run double thanks to some poor Indians defense. The Rays extended their lead to to 3-0 in the third with an RBI single off the bat of Evan Longoria.
In the fourth, the Rays added on one more run with a Jose Lobaton RBI single following Sam Fuld's leadoff triple. Cleveland responded in a big way in the bottom half of the frame, plating three runs with some help from bad defense, this time on the Rays part. The Indians rallied with two outs and nobody on, and thanks to two base hits that probably should have been outs, the Rays' lead was cut to just one run.
The Rays would get one of those runs back in the fifth, however, as Kelly Johnson scored on a throwing error while stealing third.
Hellickson would throw a scoreless fifth inning, but Joe Maddon would decide to pull him after just 82 pitches (57 strikes). His final line was nine hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks.
In the sixth, a two-run home run to center by Yunel Escobar would make it a 7-3 ballgame. Then in the eighth, the Rays put up a four-run rally which included an opposite field two-run by Longoria.
Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney all thew a scoreless inning each out of the bullpen (combined for just two hits allowed and no walks).
The Rays improve to 31-25 on the season. With the Red Sox beating the Yankees and Baltimore winning yesterday, the Rays remain three games out of first and just a half game behind the Orioles. They're now tied with the Yankees in the division.
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