As James Shields took the mound last night, I wondered if the trade rumors were on his mind as they were on mine. My eyes actually misted a bit at the thought that this could have been his last start as a Ray.
The game was scoreless in the bottom of the first as Evan Longoria faced CC Sabathia and hit his twelfth homer to give Shields a 1-0 lead. This was very exciting coming from Evan, who has had a less than Longoria like season.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs, elliott Johnson worked a great at bat and drew a walk. The legend himself, Sam Fuld, hit a triple to drive Johnson across the plate for a 2-0 lead. The shut-out remained intact as Shields began the eighth inning. Could it be a Rays/Yankees game without a nail-biting finish?
With two outs, Robinson Cano hit an RBI double, sending Derek Jeter home to end the shut out. Joe Maddon brought in Brandon Gomes to face Nick Swisher. James Shields left to a standing ovation from a crowd of nearly thirty thousand.
Swisher flied out on one pitch from Gomes to end the inning. No insurance would come in the bottom of the eight. Sabathia walked Sean Rodriguez who managed to steal second when he really shouldn’t have since he took the bat out of Evan’s hands. With first base open, Sabathia had no reason to mess around with Longoria, not with Upton batting behind him. Upton proceeded to fly out.
Kyle Farnsworth was in for the save after a few days rest. He struck out Jorge Posada and then Russell Martin lined one to left for a base hit. Farnsworth struck out Eduardo Nunez and then Curtis Granderson came on to pinch hit.
I was hoping John Sterling wouldn’t get the chance to say, “the Grandy Man can”. Sorry John, the Grandy Man struck out and the Rays won!
Shields improved to 9-8 and CC Sabathia lost on his birthday, ending a seven game streak.
My top offensive play was Elliott Johnson’s walk. Yes, the walk, not the homer by Longo or the triple by Fuld. Without that walk, Johnson wouldn’t have scored and we might have ended up with a 1-1 tie in the sixteenth.
A Rays win is always a good thing and this was especially sweet, splitting the series with the Yankees and giving Shields some revenge for the heartbreaking 1-0 complete game loss the last time he faced Sabathia.