Seemingly since the moment that Alex Torres was called back up to the majors this year, the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff became revitalized. The bullpen, which had struggled, righted the ship and the Rays started playing like the team we expected.
The bullpen would prove to be important in today’s contest against the Giants. Roberto Hernandez, coming off his best start as a member of the Rays, was on the mound in the rubber game, and the Giants got to him early. After a quick out, San Fran put runners on first and second for Buster Posey. Posey lined a single to center, plating a run and putting the Giants on top.
Tampa came right back against San Fran starter Guillermo Moscoso. Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch. After two outs, Wil Myers continued his production with runners in scoring position, belting a homer to left to put the Rays on top.
San Fran came back in the top of the fourth. Brandon Belt walked, and moved to second on a base hit by Hunter Pence. After a fielder’s choice put runners on first and third, Brandon Crawford tripled to deep right center, driving in both runners and putting San Fran back on top. The Giants appeared poised for a big inning, but Hernandez escaped further damage with a groundout to third and a strikeout to end the inning.
Hernandez exited with two outs in the fifth following a double by Posey to deep center, bringing in Torres. After hitting Brandon Belt with a pitch, Torres got out of the jam by getting Hunter Pence to groundout. Overall, Hernandez gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk over 4.2 innings of work. Despite throwing only 75 pitches, Hernandez struggled, and may find himself in danger of losing his spot in the rotation once again.
The Rays came back in the bottom of the inning, as Sam Fuld walked, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Evan Longoria to tie the game at 3-3. The Rays took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. Yunel Escobar led off with a walk, and, with two outs and Escobar on second, Fuld singled to right to drive in the go ahead run.
The rest of the game went according to plan, as Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney worked the final three innings to close the door on the Giants in the 4-3 victory. Torres lowered his already amazing ERA to 0.26 for the season, as he struck out two and hit a batter in his 1.1 innings.
Myers was 2-2 with a home run, two RBIs and two walks.