The Rays were desperate for a victory on Thursday night. Having lost the first two games to the red hot Red Sox, a lost might have sunk the ship. Fortunately, the baseball gods were with the Rays and they squeaked out a win by a 4-3 score.
The scoring started in the second inning when Evan Longoria tripled off Jake Peavy and Wil Myers followed up with a single to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. The Rays tacked on in the third with a DeJesus walk and a double by the always dependable James Loney. But the Rays’ shutout didn’t last long.
Jeremy Hellickson got off to a rocky start in the 1st inning, allowing a Daniel Nava single and David Ortiz walk with 1 out, but he escaped that jam and appeared to hit his stride from there, allowing just a Stephen Drew walk in the next 2 innings. But then Hellickson was unable to put away Jarrod Saltalamacchia with 1 out in the 4th, going from a 1-2 count to 3-2, and the ensuing fastball was tagged by Saltalamacchia for a solo home run. The Rays responded in the bottom of the inning as Desmond Jennings drilled a solo home run. But Hellickson allowed another home run in the 6th inning to Ortiz to pull the Red Sox within 3-2 and departed after a 1-out walk. Stephen Drew’s RBI double off Jamey Wright tied the game at 3. Hellickson went 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 3. His outing came apart the third time through the order, but his stuff was good and his command was fine excluding a few mistakes. He continues to look vastly improved since returning from his sabbatical in the minor leagues.
The score was 3-3, the same it was on Wednesday night when everything came apart. Could the Rays change their fate. As it turned out, the answer was yes. In the bottom of the 8th, Evan Longoria drilled a ground-rule double and Wil Myers sent him home with a huge RBI double just inside the right field foul line to give the Rays a 4-3 lead. Fernando Rodney worked around a pair of baserunners in the 9th as the Rays won by that score.
After a disastrous series, the Rays had to find a way to win. They did exactly that. Now they need to take care of business with the Minnesota Twins and continuing their push towards the postseason.