The Tampa Bay Rays dropped the second game of their weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I still hate that name) by a 6-0 score. While it was another Cesar Ramos start that the Rays lose, Ramos actually didn’t pitch that poorly, but unlike earlier in the week when Joe Maddon allowed him to pitch into and out of trouble, he wasn’t afforded that luxury. Ramos only went 1.1 innings, allowing four hits and four runs (although Brandon Gomes was on the mound when two of them scored). The story tonight wasn’t the pitching–it was the non-existent hitting.
The Angels scored two runs in the first, second and third inning and threatened several more times throughout the night, but the bullpen (for the most part) did a good job of shutting down and keeping the Angels at bay. Angels starter C.J. Wilson, meanwhile, went the distance, effectively shutting out the Rays on the scoreboard and only allowing five base hits. Three of those runners were almost immediately erased, as Wilson was able to work three double plays. The last of those twin killings came in the 7th, when the Rays loaded the bases with one out only to see the usually clutch James Loney end the rally. Wilson struck out seven while throwing a season-high 127 pitches.
Seeing an impressive streak end tonight was Juan Carlos Oviedo, who had a span of 21 consecutive retired batters (among separate appearances that is) until he allowed a hit and two walks to load the bases in the 6th inning, which loaded the bases and forced Maddon to bring in Josh Lueke, who had a fantastic outing, working out of the 6th inning without allowing a run to cross by striking out Mike Trout and getting Albert Pujols to ground out. Lueke then followed up in the bottom of the seventh by getting LAA out 1-2-3.
One of the other bright spots of tonight’s game was Kevin Kiermaier. He recorded his first major league hit on a groundball up the middle in the sixth inning, but what really stood out was his defense. On two separate plays, Kiermaier made extremely on-target throws from the deep in the outfield, and both times he turned what looked to be an easy advance into a close play. Kiermaier became renowned in the minor leagues for his fielding, and he has certainly lived up to the hype in his brief big league time.