April 30, 2011
v. Los Angeles Angels
W: Joel Peralta (1-0) 2.19 ERA
L: Fernando Rodney (0-1) 3.09 ERA
James Shields took the hill today looking to deliver the Rays first win of the year against the Angels. He had swing and miss stuff today. Through the first three innings, he retired every hitter and struck out six. It wasn’t until the fifth that the Angels got their first baserunner, a single by Rays killer Howie Kendrick. Erick Aybar followed with a single and Hank Conger hit a 35 foot roller that loaded the bases. Shields struck out the next two hitters to preserve the scoreless tie.
Matt Joyce untied it with his second homer in as many days–a solo shot to right field. The question now became, would that be enough? Angels’ starter Joel Pineiro made sure to keep the Rays’ offense at bay. In his first start after coming off the disabled list, he went seven innings and only gave up the one run on four hits.
Through eight innings, Shields had struck out twelve, tying a career high. He also tied the Rays’ record for most consecutive scoreless innings with 21. He was over 100 pitches, but Joe Maddon wanted to see if he could close out the game. Torii Hunter, in a great at bat, fouled off a few two strike pitches and then smacked a double down the left field line. That was it for Shields.
In came Kyle Farnsworth. Vernon Wells smacked a hard grounder off of Farnsworth’s leg. He had the presence of mind to throw Wells out at first, which allowed Hunter to move to third. Farnsworth toughed out the bruise and induced a little ground ball by Kendrick. Unfortunately, Ben Zobrist couldn’t get the ball out of his glove and Hunter scored the tying run. It was a disappointing ending for Shields. It was also Farnsworth’s first blown save of the year, but all things considered, he did a good job. He came in with a one run lead to protect and a runner on second with no one out. He retired every hitter he faced, but couldn’t protect the lead.
In the bottom of the tenth, Elliot Johnson legged out a single. Sam Fuld, mired in a horrible slump, came up with one objective in mind–get the man over to second. On his first attempt, he fouled a ball off his face. Adding to his legend, he shook it off. He would have really been a hero had he smacked a line drive base hit, but for some reason, he attempted a bunt with two strikes and fouled it off for a strikeout.
The game went into extras. The Rays got their leadoff man on again in the bottom of the frame when Joyce legged out a double. He moved to third with two out. Felipe Lopez came up looking for the game winning hit, but instead Fernando Rodney threw a ball to the backstop that allowed the winning run to score.
Players of the Game: James Shields and Matt Joyce. Terrific effort by both. Shields threw a dominant game and Joyce provided the offense, scoring both runs.