At some point this year, there will be a no-hitter at Tropicana Field. There were two last year and the Trop continues to be a very tough place to score runs. There have been some mild close calls lately including today as Edison Volquez went through four no-hit innings.
James Shields was going for his fourth straight complete game, but it was obvious after a few innings that that would not be likely. He was striking out a lot of hitters (10 on the day), but he was running a lot of deep counts and more importantly allowing a lot of hits. He finally got burned in the fourth, when with two on, he hung a pitch to Ryan Hanigan who deposited it into the left field seats. Shields did retire the next seven in a row, but then allowed a run in the seventh.
The Rays were finally able to do some damage against Volquez in the fifth. Johnny Damon collected hit number 2,654 to tie Ted Williams on the all-time list. The moment warranted a standing ovation, although I wonder if anyone would have cared had Damon not just tied a Hall of Famer. Ben Zobrist followed with a walk and Evan Longoria knocked them both home with a double. After the Reds scored a run in the top of the seventh to make it 4-2, B.J. Upton homered to get one back.
The Rays have now reached the midpoint in the schedule at 45-36. Double that up and they are looking at a 90-win season. It might not be good enough to make the postseason, but still an impressive mark nonetheless.
Player of the Game: Ryan Hanigan–2 for 3, homer, 3 RBI
W: Edison Volquez (5-3) 5.65 ERA
L: James Shields (8-5) 2.45 ERA
S: Cordero (16) 1.53 ERA