Game 25: Rays Overcome Rough First Inning, Win 5-4

By David Hill

The bottom third of the lineup went 5-11 with a double, a home run, and 4 RBI as the Rays fought back to win 5-4.

James Shields endured a rough first inning, but fought back to pitch a solid game. After striking out the first two batters, Ichiro drew a walk. Jesus Montero hit a ground ball deep in the hole at short, and was given credit for an infield single when Sean Rodriguez‘s throw was wide of the bag. Kyle Seager then hit a home run to deep right, giving the Mariners an early 3-0 lead.

With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Jose Molina had an infield hit to deep short. Sean Rodriguez followed up with his second home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2. The bottom third of the Rays lineup would put them ahead the following inning. After a Luke Scott infield hit and a Will Rhymes single to center, Molina hit a double into the right field gap, plating both runners and giving the Rays a 4-3 lead.

That lead held up until the top of the sixth inning. Working quickly, Shields had been cruising along since the first, having given up only 2 hits and a walk. However, Kyle Seager lead off the top of the sixth with a solo home run, his second of the night, to even the game a 4-4. Shields worked around an Alex Liddi walk, and escaped without any further damage. Shields would end the night having pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 batters. He had electric stuff as evidenced by the strikeouts but erratic command and was particularly hittable at times. He labored, throwing 119 pitches in his 6 innings, the same amount he used in his 8 inning effort on April 21st, but he refused to wilt and gave the Rays an opportunity to win this game.

The Rays would take the lead right back in the bottom of the inning. Luke Scott lead off the inning with a fly ball to center field that deflected off of Michael Saunders‘ glove for a home run as Saunders leaped in an attempt to make an outstanding catch, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead and putting Shields in line for the win. That lead would hold up, as J.P. Howell, Wade Davis, and Joel Peralta would combine to shut out the Mariners the rest of the way, preserving the 5-4 victory. Peralta went 1.2 perfect innings, striking out, for his first save of the season.

With 25 games down, the Rays find themselves at 17-8, one game up in the division.