After last night's loss, courtesy of Jonny Gomes, the Rays lost ground in the race for sole lead of the AL East. Unfortunately, this atfernoon's game wasn't going to be a walk in the park either, with the A's starter Brandon McCarthy (who's been on a little tear of his own lately) taking the mound, hoping to get his team back into the seemingly-unbeatable form they were in two weeks ago. Starting for the Rays tonight was Jeremy Hellickson, who has been one of those victims of the Sophomore Slump, coming into today's start with an 8-8 record, and struggling to find any sort of rhythm between his starts (Although his ERA is sub 4.0).
For McCarthy, the Rays could not figure him out, as he was making the Rays offense whiff at anything and everything. He did get tagged for a couple runs, due in most part because of the home run off the bat of Desmond Jennings, and also gave up 4 hits, but was in control for the most part.
Jeremy Hellickson, however, was not really in control at any part during his start. An unearned run was scored in the first inning due to an error by catcher Jose Lobaton, giving the A's an early but sloppy lead. Immediately after that, Chris Carter launched a two-run homer off of Hellickson to make it 3-0. The Rays would respond with a Sacrifice Fly off the bat of Lobaton in the second inning to make it 3-1. Seth Smith respond to that run by driving a solo shot to right field, again off of Hellickson, to make it 4-1, and putting the A's ahead for good. The solo homer by Desmond Jennings in the fifth inning was more-or-less a consolation prize than a mistake.
With this loss and the Yankees 3-1 loss to the Indians, the Rays are still 3.5 games behind [the Yankees] for the AL East lead. The blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and the Dodgers is essentially a sign that Boston has thrown in the towel on this season, but trading away over 261 million dollars worth of player contracts (which L.A. absorbed most/all of) has given them the opportunity to go after a plethora of big-name players and free agents come the offseason.
Notable stats from this afternoon's game:
D. Jennings: 1-4, R, HR, RBI