After last night’s thrilling win over Seattle, the Rays came out and totally dominated the Mariners tonight 8-0. Joe Maddon decided to cancel batting practice before the game tonight. It ended up being a great move as the Rays hitters batted Charlie Furbush (who had given the Rays problems earlier this year) and company around. Here are some of the hitters who had big nights:
- Evan Longoria launched a two-run homer in the first on a 3-0 pitch to get the Rays off and running.
- The homer followed a Johnny Damon triple. Damon added two more singles as the night went on.
- Desmond Jennings only had a single hit, but took advantage of catcher Miguel Olivo‘s arm by stealing three bases.
- Ben Zobrist added three hits including his league-leading 41st double of the year.
- Longoria capped the blowout with a two run single in the eighth.
The biggest night of all, however, belonged to Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson, working on six days rest, was in total command throughout the game as he has been in his two previous starts this year against the Mariners. On June 4, he held the Mariners to one run over 7.1 innings. On July 31, he also allowed one run this time over seven innings. Tonight, he did himself one better in both departments by throwing eight shutout innings. The only tight spot that he got into was in the eighth when the Mariners had runners on second and third with one out. Hellickson pitched out of the jam by getting a short fly ball and then a pop out.
The bottom of the eighth became quite lengthy so Maddon elected to have Joel Peralta close out the game instead of Hellickson. It was the correct move as the primary concern has been to keep Jeremy’s innings down. He was over 100 pitches and the game was well in hand. Next time out, Hellickson will have to pitch on four days rest which has been a struggle in the past.
Overall, a great day for the Rays as they did everything right, even hit with the bases loaded. They gained a game on both New York and Boston who both lost. They’ve drawn within 7.5 games of the wild card. It’ll be a tough road ahead, but the way this team has been playing has to give Rays fans some hope.
Player of the Game: Jeremy Hellickson