By Wayne Tyson
Jeremy Hellickson took the ball against Detroit in his return from the disabled list, and with two outs in the third inning found himself back in the dugout, the result of being injured by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder.
With the bases loaded in the third, Fielder hit a laser back up the middle that hit Hellickson in the right shin. The ball shot toward first baseman Carlos Pena who beat Fielder to the bag as the Tigers scored their first run of the game.
J.P. Howell came in to shut down Detroit, and the game remained 1-0 until the eighth inning.
Howell pitched two shutout innings, followed by Wade Davis, who tossed and inning and a third of scoreless baseball. Kyle Farnsworth returned from the disabled list and struck out two while allowing a walk and single in one inning’s work.
Joel Peralta, in his return from suspension, entered in the top of the eighth and allowed a one out double to Brennan Boesch. One out later, on an 0-2 count, Peralta hit light-hitting Ramon Santiago. Austin Jackson followed with a three-run homer to put the Tigers up 4-0, a lead the Rays would not overcome.
The bottom of the eighth saw Rays’ pinch-hitter and Carlos Pena each leave the yard with solo home runs. In the top of the ninth, Detroit added two insurance runs for the final tally of 6-2.
• Hellickson gave up four hits before exiting with the bruised shin in the third inning. He expects to be back for his next start – X-rays were negative.
• The Rays had only one hit – a base-hit bunt by Elliot Johnson – through the first five innings off Rick Porcello
• With one out in their half of the sixth, the Rays loaded the bases on singles by Will Rhymes, Desmond Jennings and Carlos Pena. Two pitches later, B.J. Upton had popped up to short and Luke Scott grounded out. Inning over.
• For the month of June, the Rays hit .222, a team record low for any month.
• The Rays welcomed three pitchers back to the fold yesterday: starter Jeremy Hellickson, and last year’s unnamed closer Kyle Farnsworth as well as Joel Peralta, who was returning from an eight game suspension.
• While Tampa Bay’s offense continues to struggle, Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce, the two biggest bats on the roster remain on the disabled list. Longoria was hitting at a .329 clip with a .944 OPS. Joyce sits at .279/.899 on the season.
• Jeff Keppinger came off the bench in the eighth and responded with two-strike home run. FOX’s Tim McCarver said it looked like Keppinger was sitting on and inside fastball. I doubt it. Keppinger just knows how to get the barrel to the ball. He’s just a good, professional hitter. And that’s because he doesn’t guess with two strikes.
• The Rays’ retro uniform of the day needs to say farewell. Forever. It reminded me that I wore clothes in the ‘70s that I don’t want to recall. Those clothes are long gone, but I may have to look through old photos and toss a few. I wouldn’t want to subject my daughters to the visual trauma…
Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Rays today. He’s coming off a tough outing in which he sacrificed his earned run average for the sake of the bullpen. I hope he can pull out a win – he deserves it after last week’s effort. The Tigers will send lefty Todd Smyly to the bump, who is 2-3 with a 4.48 ERA.