James Shields had been the subject of trade rumors for for weeks. On Tuesday night, he showed why.
Shield pitched his seventh career shutout as Tampa’s offense battered Oakland’s pitching staff in an 8-0 victory. Shields allowed only 3 hits over his 9 innings of work, striking out 11 A’s without issuing a walk. Oakland did not get a runner past first, as Shields gave up singles to Chris Carter in the second, Jemile Weeks in the fourth, and newly acquired George Kottaras in the eighth.
The Rays scored twice in the top of the third, as B.J. Upton and had an RBI single and Ben Zobrist drove in a run with a groundout. In the top of the sixth, the Rays broke the game open with RBI singles from Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez, sandwiching a Carlos Pena sacrifice fly.
For the Rays, every starter aside from Pena had at least one hit, with Sam Fuld leading the way. Fuld finished the night going 3-4 with a run scored. Upton was 2-5 with a run scored, a stolen base, and 2 RBIs. A’s starter Tommy Milone finished the night having given up 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 1 walk over 6 innings of work, striking out 4 batters.
With the victory, the Rays find themselves 2.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the hunt for the playoffs.
Game Notes: The A’s have been shut out 12 times thus far in 2012. Prior to tonight, Milone had allowed only 6 runs in his last 59.1 innings in Oakland. Shields needed only 98 pitches in throwing his first complete game of the year.