One of the strengths for the Tampa Bay Rays through much of this season has been their defense. After some problems at the start of the year, the Rays had appeared to turn things around in the field. Those issues reared their ugly head again tonight, as the Rays fell 6-3.
Everything started off well for Tampa. Jeremy Hellickson set down the first nine batters he faced without issue, and the Rays jumped out against Toronto starter R.A. Dickey. Ben Zobrist deposited a 3-0 fastball to right for a home run in the first, and Delmon Young homered to left center for his 100th career home run as the Rays took an early lead.
However, things fell apart in the fourth. With a runner on second and one out, Brett Lawrie hit a chopper to third that Evan Longoria was unable to field cleanly. Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose followed with RBI singles to tie the game. After a strikeout, Ryan Goins singled to center. The ball got under Sam Fuld‘s glove, rolling to the wall as Sierra and Gose scored to put Toronto on top. Goins attempted to round the bases to extend the lead, but was thrown out at the plate by an excellent relay from Zobrist.
With fifteen days since his last start, Hellickson appeared to tire in the fifth. After getting two quick outs, Hellickson walked Jose Reyes and Munenori Kawasaki, bringing up Lawrie. Lawrie singled to center, driving in Reyes as the Blue Jays extended their lead. Sierra followed with an infield single to third, but Longoria threw the ball wide of first for his second error on the night, allowing Kawasaki to score. That ended Hellickson’s night, as he finished by giving up six runs, three earned, on six hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out five and was in command early, but just seemed to run out of gas down the stretch.
The Rays bullpen did their job, holding Toronto off the board the rest of the way. However, they did provide a scary moment, courtesy of Roberto Hernandez. On the second pitch of the at bat, Hernandez hit Lawrie with a pitch that glanced off his shoulder before hitting Lawrie in the mouth. Despite a bloody lip, he stayed in the game and stole second before being stranded on base.
The Rays cut into the lead with two out in the ninth, when Kelly Johnson drove in a run with a long double, but the Rays were unable to get any closer in the 6-3 loss. Hellickson took the loss, falling to 12-10 on the season.
Zobrist was 3-3 with a walk and a home run in the loss.