No, this wasn’t the win of the year, but a victory rarely feels better than this one did. The game was over after the first inning, plain and simple. Just like last night, the A’s pounded the Rays starter, this time Wade Davis. After six batters, the A’s had hit for the cycle as a team and had a 5-0 lead. Pitching coach Jim Hickey came out to settle Davis down and boy did he ever. Davis struck out the next two hitters to get out of the inning, but he had thrown 47 pitches. He then proceeded to retire the next 15 batters in a row. Remarkably, after six innings, he had thrown only 100 pitches.
The Rays offense did the rest, although Rich Harden held them hitless through the first four frames. The Rays wore him down and got him out of the game after six innings. The only dent to his line was a two run homer by Desmond Jennings, the first bomb of his career.
In the seventh, against the A’s bullpen, the Rays rallied. The Rays loaded the bases after a run had scored after a great at bat by Sam Fuld that resulted in a walk. The free pass seemed to unnerve A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler who threw four wide ones to Sean Rodriguez. Jennings came up and proved to be the hero with a two run single that gave the Rays a 6-5 lead. Evan Longoria capped the seven run frame with a solo homer. There didn’t seem to be a way that the Rays could lose this game, yet the bullpen made it interesting. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a messy ninth for his twentieth save of the year.
This game was an example of why I watch every night, no matter the score. The Rays offense at times has been pitiful, but once in a while, they deliver a scintillating rally that reminds me never to miss a pitch if I can help it.
Player of the Game: Desmond Jennings was the offensive hero today with three hits and four runs batted in, but my player of the game is Wade Davis who settled down extraordinarily. His overall line is not that impressive, but we’ll give him a mulligan on that first inning.