The Rays blew out the Seattle Mariners again today to take two of three in their last west coast series of 2011. They could have used some of the runs (and hits) that they scored on Friday or today to win yesterday’s game as well, but either way, it was an impressive showing all around. The Rays took advantage of sloppy Seattle defense (three errors) and Jeremy Hellickson cruised through seven innings for his tenth win of the year.
Desmond Jennings got the game off to a fast start. He reached on an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan, stole second and went to third on another error. He reached home, just barely, on a ground out. It was a run created entirely by his speed a lot of fun to watch. The Rays’ offense kept attacking Jason Vargas who had previously shut them out in June. Sean Rodriguez, in particular, made a nice adjustment in the fourth. With two men on and the Rays leading 2-0, Vargas buzzed him up and in with an 0-2 count. It was clearly a spot where Vargas could come right back with a change-up down and away. Rodriguez was no doubt thinking the same thing as he flipped the diving pitching into center field for two runs. The game appeared to be pretty much over at this point, but the Rays kept adding on. They built their lead to 7-0 and eventually 8-1 on a S-Rod home run to left.
Hellickson kept the Mariners hitless through five innings. Once Chone Figgins ended the no-hit bid, it seemed like Hellickson lost his focus a bit. He allowed a run in the seventh and was removed in the eighth after he allowed his sixth base hit in a little over two innings. The Rays bullpen held the big lead to give Hellickson his tenth win of the year. Amazingly, he’s the first Rays pitcher to reach that milestone that year, although both David Price and James Shields could reach the 10-win plateau on this next home stand.
Players of the Game: Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez both had three hits and three runs batted in.