The Rays won by a score of 4-3 last night, thanks to Ben Zobrist’s fourth career walk-off in the wee hours of the night. Tampa Bay has won a season high four consecutive games, and looks to sweep the Twins Thursday afternoon. Today’s game comes on the heels of the four hour, 13 inning marathon of a game, and the Rays will take the field a mere 12 hours after dog-piling BenZo at first base. Suffice to say, I’m a bit haggard, and not just because I stayed up to watch the game in its entirety. Bulleted highlights are below.
- Jeremy Hellickson put together another quality start, though he wasn’t credited with the win. Helly had his moments of dominance, striking out eight batters while scattering six hits over six innings. Hellickson leaned more on his curve-ball (14 thrown, 9 for strikes, 4 whiffs) than he had in the start prior, complementing his four-seam fastball (33 thrown, 21 for strikes, 2 whiffs) and a devastating change-up (28 thrown, 23 for strikes, 9 whiffs). He did have a couple of lapses in command, leading to the Twins scoring three runs. Led by Pedro Florimon, the bottom of the Twins’ lineup ultimately incurred most of the damage.
- Down 3-1 in the sixth inning, James Loney singled to right field, setting things up for Kelly Johnson who got the start after a two-hit outing, Tuesday. Johnson blasted a two-run shot to right-field (his thirteenth of the year) to tie the game at three all.
- McGee came on in relief of Hellickson in the seventh inning and struck out the side in order on just 13 pitches.
- Fernando Rodney came in to preserve the tie in the ninth inning and immediately struggled. The Rays closer quickly gave up a comeback single to Joe Mauer, and then another base hit to Justin Morneau to put two on with nobody out. But Rodney gathered himself and struck out Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia, while getting Aaron Hicks ground out to end the inning with no damage done.
- With a runner on in the bottom of the 10th inning, Kelly Johnson made a bid for a walk-off hit, crushing a deep drive to center field. Johnson just missed his second home run of the night by about a foot-and-a-half, and was robbed of the walk-off hit by Aaron Hicks who tracked down the ball and made an excellent leaping catch, crashing into the padding of the center field wall.
- After a lull in the action, Evan Longoria singled with one out in the 12th inning, and subsequently stole second with James Loney at the plate. Longoria’s first stolen base of the season could be a sure sign that his foot is feeling better. But the nobel effort was left with a pocket full of rust, after Loney ground out, and Sam Fuld — who pinch hit for Kelly Johnson after the Twins intentionally walked Wil Myers — struck out. Womp womp.
- Cesar Ramos escaped a self induced jam in the top of the 13th.
- In the bottom of the 13th inning, Yunel Escobar singled with one out, bringing Desmond Jennings to the plate. He, unfortunately, flied out to left before Luke Scott drew his third walk. Scott reached base safely five times last night. Ben Zobrist followed by smacking his first hit of the night, an RBI walk-off shot to the gap in right, plating Escobar and winning the game.
- The Rays went 1-9 wRISP, leaving 15 men on base. Oof.
The New What Next
Matt Moore will attempt to put together his 13th win of the year, taking on Mike Pelfrey and the Twins this afternoon at the Trop. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 7/11/13 Starting Lineup
- Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar and Desmond Jennings are not in the lineup today. They’d be available later if need be.