Jeremy Hellickson entered this afternoon’s game against the Baltimore Orioles as yet another pitcher who had struggled this season for the Rays. However, this afternoon, he looked to be back at the form the Rays have expected.
The Orioles threatened in the top of the first, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but managed to escape unscathed. The Rays responded in the bottom of the inning, as Evan Longoria drove in Ben Zobrist for the first run of the game. Tampa added two more in the bottom of the third, on RBI singles from Yunel Escobar and Zobrist to take a 3-0 lead.
Hellickson cruised along until the top of the fifth, when it appeared as though the Orioles may be putting together a rally. With runners on first and second and no one out, Hellickson struck out Chris Dickerson, then got a fielder’s choice and a fly out to end the threat.
At that point, the Rays broke the game open. Zobrist doubled to lead off the inning, and moved to third on a line out. After a walk put runners on first and third, James Loney singled to drive in a run. Another walk loaded the bases, bringing up Luke Scott. The former Oriole came through against his old team, slugging a bases clearing triple, and coming around to score one batter later on Jose Lobaton‘s double to deep center.
That was all the support that Hellickson needed, as he pitched six solid innings, giving up four hits while striking out five. The bullpen held down the Orioles offense, completing the four hit shutout as the Rays won 8-0.
Scott went 1-3 with a triple, two RBIs, a walk and two runs scored. Zobrist had an excellent day with the bat, going 3-5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.