Tonight’s game got off to a bit of a testy start for James Shields and the Rays. In the top of the second, it appeared James had thrown a pitch that was good enough to have Eric Thames called out on strikes. However, it was called a ball. Thames ended up walking and so did Aaron Hill. The supposed miscall added more than 15 pitches to Shields’ pitch count. It looked like that might have a huge impact on the game.
The Rays made sure of that with back to back four run innings in the second and third. Ben Zobrist started the scoring with his fifteenth homer of the year, a no-doubter into the right field seats. Joe Maddon then decided to shorten up the game. With runners on first and third, Sean Rodriguez bunted a run home, but was safe on an error. Robinson Chirinos followed with another run-scoring bunt that he beat out for a hit. Desmond Jennings completed the trifecta with a beautiful bunt down the third base line.
In the third, the Rays went back to the long ball. Casey Kotchman hit his fifth. Then Robinson Chirinos connected for his first major league home run, this one a three-run shot.
Shields definitely bounced back after his bad start last week in Oakland. The missed call in the first might have kept him from throwing a complete game, but he threw a strong 7.1 innings. His only blemish was a homer in the third by J.P. Arencibia. Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes finished up the 9-1 blowout giving Shields his tenth win of the year.
Player of the Game: James Shields