Jeremy Hellickson appeared to have righted himself over his last three starts, as he held down solid offensive teams in the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Tigers. Now, facing an offense as anemic as the Chicago White Sox have been this season, Hellickson seemed poised to continue his run of success.
The Rays did their part on offense, jumping all over an ineffective Dylan Axelrod in the second inning. Jose Molina belted a two run home run with one out to kick off the scoring, and the rout was soon on. Kelly Johnson followed with a shot to right as the Rays went back to back. Evan Longoria had an RBI single, and Wil Myers hit an RBI double to cap the outburst as the Rays took a 5-0 lead, knocking Axelrod from the game.
Hellickson, meanwhile, continued to hold the White Sox in check. He mixed his pitches well, and aside from a run scoring fifth inning base hit to rookie Josh Phegley, shut down the White Sox. Over seven innings, he allowed one run on six hits, striking out nine. His curve appeared to be amongst his best of the season tonight, as the White Sox were at Hellickson’s mercy virtually all night.
Tampa tacked on a couple more insurance runs in the fourth, as they loaded the bases with no outs. Myers hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a run, then Luke Scott followed with a base hit to give the Rays a 7-0 lead. They loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fifth, and James Loney drew a bases loaded walk to force home another run.
Chicago made the game interesting in the bottom of the ninth, getting two runs back against Cesar Ramos, but the Rays were able to hold on for the 8-3 victory. Loney was 2-4 with an RBI and a walk, as he pushed his hitting streak to 16 games, matching Longoria for the longest streak of the season for the Rays. Desmond Jennings was 3-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.