June 24, 2011
A: Houston Astros
W: James Shields (8-4) 2.29 ERA
L: Wandy Rodriguez (5-4) 3.21 ERA
When James Shields is pitching this well and he gets any kind of run support, the game is basically over. The Rays gave him his support with a four run third. Sean Rodriguez, who collected three hits out of the leadoff spot, started the two-out rally with a single. He stole second and scored on a Ben Zobrist single. Evan Longoria followed with a homer. B.J. Upton made it back-to-back with a homer of his own. Admittedly, the fly ball into the Crawford Boxes in left field probably would not have left any other park and it was doubtful as to whether the ball actually crossed the fence at Minute Maid Park. The umpires had to have another look at it before determining that it was gone.
I thought tonight that Shields could have thrown a no-hitter. He was getting ahead of every hitter and then putting them away with his diving change-up. He did retire the first nine in a row before Michael Bourn singled to lead off the fourth. No matter. Shields erased the threat with a double play.
The Rays ended up with five runs tonight, all five of them off of Wandy Rodriguez. They also faced two more Rodriguezes tonight, Fernando and Aneury.
Shields lost the shutout in the seventh. With two out, Brett Wallace hit a little dribbler for a hit. Chris Johnson hit a ball halfway up Tal’s Hill for an RBI double. Shields retired each of the last seven hitters for his sixth complete game of the year and his third in a row.
Player of the Game: James Shields who struck out nine and only allowed three hits.