One night after the bullpen was terrific and led the Rays to a win, it had one of its worst games of the season Wednesday.
At one point Hellickson had a one-hitter going and the Rays had a comfortable lead, but everything changed in just two innings. The many runners left on base and eight unanswered runs left the Rays out to dry.
The Rays started it off nice with an RBI single from Elliot Johnson in the second inning. B.J. Upton had a sac fly later in the inning to put the Rays up 2-0.
They added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Luke Scott hit an RBI single to score Zobrist, and then Desmond Jennings would bunt to attempt a squeeze and ended up reaching with a single, which scored Matt Joyce to make it 4-0.
It all started for the Tribe in top of the fifth. Jack Hannahan doubled in two runs to put the Indians on the board. Shin-Soo Choo would then score him to make it 4-3.
Hellickson came back with a scoreless sixth, however, which would be his last inning of his solid outing. His fastball command seemed much improved from his past outings, something the Rays were definitely looking forward to in this game. So a least one good sign came out of Wednesday night.
The horrific bottom of the seventh is when everything unraveled for the Rays. Kyle Farnsworth would start the inning, and quickly retired the first two batters. And that's when the five-run rally started. The next two batters would single, and Farnsworth was removed from the game with runners at the corners.
One of those singles was due to a misplay by Carlos Pena, and probably should of been called an error rather than a hit. So I guess we can say bad defense cost the Rays another game.
Jake McGee came in to try to finish off the Indians and end the inning. If it wasn't for a bad call by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna he would have done exactly that. Jason Kipnis was the first batter McGee faced, and it appeared as he had him at 1-2. Then the fourth pitch of that at-bat was the pitch that changed this ballgame. McGee pitched a beautiful fastball low in the zone that was clearly a strike, but was called a ball by Iassogna.
Let's take a look at pitch #4:
Keep in mind that Kipnis is shorter than most MLB batters, so that strike is actually not as close as a call as it seems on the chart above.
Kipnis would end up grounding a single through the middle to tie up the game at four apiece. Joe Maddon then came out and argued the call, and it didn't take long before he was ejected.
Michael Brantley would follow with another RBI single up the middle, giving the Indians a 5-4 lead.
Carlos Santana would then break it open with a three-run home run to straightaway center field, making it 8-4.
McGee allowed three of those five runs in that inning, while Farnsworth was charged with the other two. Although all five really should be charged on the home plate umpire.
Elliot Johnson would hit an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to make it 8-5.
Now to the ninth, Jason Kipnis hit his second RBI single to extend Cleveland's lead to 9-5. Carlos Santana hit his own RBI single later in the inning to add to his huge night.
Desmond Jennings got an RBI groundout in the last inning but it was not enough and the Rays lost 10-6.
The Rays are now 47-45 on the season. This loss really stings, as everybody the Rays needed lose won Wednesday night. The Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Tigers (were tied with Rays in Wild Card race before the game) all came out with a victory. Therefore, the Rays are now a season-high 10.5 games out of first place, back to third-place and a half-game behind Baltimore, tied with Boston, and a a game out of the Wild Card.
Notable Stat Lines
- Jeremy Hellickson: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K
- Justin Masterson: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 7 BB, 1 K
- Jake McGee (BS,2): 0.1 IP 4 H, 3 R, 1 K
- B.J. Upton (0-4) RBI
- Ben Zobrist (0-2) R, 3 BB, SB, CS
- Matt Joyce (1-4) R, 2 SB
- Luke Scott (4-4) 2 R, BB, RBI
- Desmond Jennings (3-4) R, BB, 2 RBI
- Elliot Johnson (2-5) 2 RBI, SB
- Click here for a full boxscore
Rays News and Notes
- The Rays stole four bases last night (caught once), and surprisingly two of them were from Matt Joyce.
- Evan Longoria (hamstring) is improving, according to Maddon, and will accompany the Rays on their upcoming road trip where they will likely set up rehab plans from there.
- Sam Fuld (wrist) is looking pretty good in his minor league rehab assignment with Durham. He could rejoin the Rays at some point this weekend.
- The Rays were one of just two teams that did not get a competitive balance lottery draft pick yesterday. He's more on the story over at TampaBay.com.
- The Rays try to split the four-game series this afternoon, first pitch at 12:40 ET. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-8 5.09 ERA) vs. David Price (12-4 2.80 ERA).
- Here's Maddon on his ejection and the missed call: