Jeremy Hellickson struggled through a forty-one pitch first inning in which he gave up three runs, and the Rays’ bats struggled with Brandon McCarthy and Oakland’s pitchers as Tampa Bay fell 4-2. Hellickson gave up a fourth run on a Seth Smith home run in the top of the third to end the Athletics’ scoring, forcing the Rays to play catch-up.
Hellickson allowed four hits and had a hit-by-pitch in the first. The Athletics scored their first run on a throwing error by Jose Lobaton with two outs. The next hitter, Chris Carter, left the building with a two-run blast that gave Oakland all the runs they would need on the day.
McCarthy earned his seventh victory against five losses while allowing only four hits and two earned runs over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two. Lefty Sean Doolittle shut down Tampa Bay in the eighth, and former Ray Grant Balfour claimed his fourteenth save of the campaign.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with nobody out in the second, but only managed a single run. It would be their best opportunity for a big inning on the day. Desmond Jennings lined his tenth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth to close out the scoring.
The three-game series with Oakland was bumped up a day to leave tomorrow as an open date. The Republican National Convention will take over Tropicana Field tomorrow. The Rays will have the day off. They travel to Texas to take on the Rangers Monday evening.
- After struggling through the first inning, Hellickson settled in and allowed only one run over the next four innings.
- The bullpen continued its fantastic work, with Burke Badenhop, J.P. Howell, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jake McGee throwing up zeroes on the board. They allowed only three hits while striking out five over the final four innings. On the day, Rays’ pitchers struck out ten while allowing no free passes.
- McGee gave up a hit in the ninth, and after an error, he had to step on the gas to keep the Rays within striking distance, at a two-run deficit. He struck out the next three batters, pumping gas pitch after pitch.
- In a light moment in the post-game presser, Joe Maddon was discussing the quality of the Rays’ pitching lately, saying to waste a good outing by the staff was like “a mortal sin, if you’re Catholic.” He also put a spin on the baseball adage of winning three out of four at home and two out of four on the road, reversing the two. While the pitching has been quality, the club has hit better on the road, and he acknowledged he isn’t sure what‘s missing in The Trop.