The red-hot Chicago White Sox finished off a sweep of the Rays today, hanging on with a 4-3 victory. Things got heated between the two teams today, resulting in two ejections and ultimately another Rays loss. More on the incidents soon.
Alex Cobb, who entered the game 2-0, squared off against southpaw Jose Quintana yesterday in effort to avoid the three-game sweep. Cobb ran into some trouble early, as an Alex Rios RBI single in the top of the first gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Rays would strike back in the second inning with a game-tying solo home of the bat of Luke Scott into the left-field seats.
The top of the third inning is when Chicago started to break open the game, fueled off an unwise move by the Rays. After a one-out double, the Rays let another man on base. In retaliation for his hard slide into second baseman Ben Zobrist on Tuesday night, catcher A.J. Pierzynski (surprise, surprise) was plunked in the shoulder by an fastball. Cobb said after the game that throwing at Pierzynski was unintentional, but it's pretty clear that wasn't the case.
Thanks to RBI from Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez, both runners would score, and A.J.'s beanball ended up being the difference in the one-run contest.
The White Sox responded in the bottom of the fourth, when Quintana threw behind Zobrist with two outs and the bases empty. Although he was not warned before, Quintana was immediately ejected. Skipper Robin Ventura followed him as he was thrown out by home plate umpire Mark Wegner shortly after. White Sox TV broadcaster Hawk Harrelson really did not take liking to the ejections, losing it with this classic rant (see video below the article).
In the fifth inning, Alexei Ramirez continued to do damage with the bat, extending Chicago's lead to 4-1 with an RBI double.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Rays would cut the lead to one with a two-run blast from Carlos Pena. Four strong scoreless innings from the 'pen gave the Rays a good shot to tie or win it in the ninth, with the top of the order due up. The late magic wasn't there for the Rays yesterday, however, as two consecutive weak pop-ups by Zobrist and Scott ended the game stranding two runners on base.
The Sox's eighth straight wins brings the Rays' record down to 29-22 (17-10 at home). The Jays completed a three-game sweep of the O's, keeping the Rays tied in first place with Baltimore. The Yankees beat the Angels 6-5, and are now just 1.5 games behind. The Red Sox defeated Detroit again last night, and go for the sweep tonight at Fenway.
Notable stat lines from yesterday's game:
- A. Cobb(L, 2-1): 4 ER, 9 H, BB (2 HBP), 4 K through 5.0 IP.
- C. Pena: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB
- Luke Scott: 1-4, HR, RBI, R
Rays news and notes:
- Desmond Jennings will start his rehab stint tonight with Class-A+ Charlotte tonight, and then move on to Triple-A Durham Friday. He hopes he can join the Rays as early as this Monday if everything goes well.
- Fangraphs.com has a piece on Hideki Matsui's return.
- The Rays enjoy an off day today, and then open up a big home series against Baltimore. David Price (6-3, 2.71 ERA) will open up the three-game set against Wei-Yin Chen (4-1, 3.31 ERA).
- Here's Harrelson losing it on the air: