To say that Jeremy Hellickson has been inconsistent this season would be a bit of an understatement. Seemingly every time he has taken a step forward this year, he takes a step back, leading to his struggles this season.
However, he put together another solid outing tonight against the Boston Red Sox, benefiting as the Rays took an early lead against Sox starter Ryan Dempster. Desmond Jennings homered to put the Rays on the board, and James Loney hit a sacrifice fly to give the Rays a 2-0 lead before the Red Sox came to bat. Tampa had another golden opportunity in the top of the second, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Dempster escaped with an inning ending double play.
The Red Sox got on the board in the bottom of the inning, as David Ortiz doubled to lead off the inning, and had moved to third with two outs. Former Ray, and last night’s Sox hero Jonny Gomes then hit a ball into the hole that Evan Longoria was able to snare, but was unable to get the ball out of the glove to make an attempt to throw him out. Gomes was safe on the field single, and the Sox had cut the lead in half.
From that point, both pitchers settled in, as it appeared as though the Rays inability to get to Dempster in the second may come back to haunt them. That was especially the case in the bottom of the fourth, when Gomes again came up with two outs and a runner on third. This time, he lined the ball sharply, and a leaping Longoria knocked the ball down, saving extra bases. However, the second infield hit for Gomes drove in the tying run, and the Rays found themselves in another fight.
Tampa came right back in the fifth. With runners on first and second again and two outs, Zobrist singled up the middle. Jose Molina came trucking in from second, beating the throw to give the Rays the lead. The Rays then put the game away in the seventh with another two out rally. Longoria drove the ball off the left field wall for a long single, but Jennings was able to score from first. After james Loney doubled, Wil Myers followed with a double of his own for his first extra base hit and first two RBIs of his young career, putting the Rays ahead 6-2.
The bullpen held the Red Sox down the rest of the way, as the Rays were able to salvage the final game of the series. Hellickson earned the win, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out four in six innings. Longoria and Molina each had three hits in the victory.