Grant Balfour made things hairy in the ninth, yet the Rays were still able to win the middle game of the series by a score of 2-1 — also winning the series in the process. David Price may have fallen short of his 10-K goal by one — a fact that’s irrelevant in the scheme of things — but he still walked away with a “W” behind a strong outing. Balfour was credited with the save.
David Price primarily relied upon his fastball/changeup combo, limiting the Yankees to one run over seven innings. He out-dueled Hiroki Kuroda, allowing only four hits (three singles and a double) along with three walks while striking out nine. That one runwas scored on an awkward play, after Price picked Jacoby Ellsbury off first base, culminating in a poorly executed rundown.
Offensively, the Rays’ runs came on a pair of singles in the top of the fourth by Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria, followed by a soft ground ball up the middle off the bat of Logan Forsythe, one out later. The red-hot Forsythe went 2-4 with an RBI last night, this on the heels of a solid .315 BA/.351 OBP/.463 SLG/.814 OPS month of June. Then in the sixth inning, James Loney crushed a hanging curve ball, pulling it 401 feet to the right-center bullpen.
The New What Next
Now that the Rays have now won the series, and Jake Odorizzi will go for the sweep against Vidal Nuno and the Yankees. Odorizzi is coming off an impressive one run/five inning start against the Orioles. On the other side of things, Nuno blanked Tampa Bay over five innings in his first start against the Rays in April, giving up only three hits. But the Rays came back to hammer the 26 year-old lefty for four runs on five hits, including a Desmond Jennings two-run shot, in a 10-5 routing of the Yankees. Overall, Nuno has given up an average of 4-3/4 runs in half of his 16 starts, with six of those eight starts culminating in a loss. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 7/2/14 Starting Lineup
- Many have questioned why Grant Balfour closed out the game, especially following his two-walk tightrope act. I submit to you this:
#Rays Maddon said reason he went to Balfour in 9th was seeing him in hotel lobby w/his 90 yo grandmother, figured he’d have good karma 2nite
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 2, 2014
- With his scoreless eighth inning, Jake McGee now has a 1.21 ERA — the lowest among AL relievers.
- ESPN never misses an opportunity to get a dig in on the Rays: