Game 38: Rhymes HBP Overshadows Rays Victory

By David Hill

The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 2-1. However, the victory was not the story.

The matchup between Clay Buchholz and Jeremy Hellickson lived up to it’s billing. Tampa would draw first blood in the bottom of the second, as Carlos Pena led off the frame with a single. Luke Scott was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. After Sean Rodriguez grounded into a double play, Will Rhymes walked, giving the Rays runners at the corners. Buchholz was called for a balk, scoring Pena and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.

That lead held up until the top of the fourth inning. With two out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia laced a double to deep right. Cody Ross followed with a four pitch walk, bringing up Daniel Nava. Nava continued his hot streak with a base hit to center, scoring Saltalamacchia and tying the game at 1-1. Nava and Ross moved up to second and third respectively on the throw home, but were stranded as Hellickson got Mike Aviles to ground out to end the inning.

Tampa would strike back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Matt Joyce led off the inning with a base hit off of Buccholz’s ankle. He remained in the game to pitch to Pena, who got singled to right, placing runners at the corners. Andrew Miller came in, and got Luke Scott to hit a fly ball to shallow right. Cody Ross misjudged the ball, stumbling over to make the catch and allowing Joyce to score, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead. The Rays loaded the bases with two out, but Miller was able to strike out Elliot Johnson to end the threat.

Hellickson came out after the sixth, allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters. The Rays bullpen held the Sox the rest of the way, allowing only two singles over the final three innings.

This victory, however, was marred by a frightening incident in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two out and a runner on second, Will Rhymes was drilled in the arm by a Franklin Morales fastball. He made it down to first base before motioning to leave the game, and collapsing into first base coach George Hendrick. After several minutes, Rhymes was carted off the field to the clubhouse. Thankfully, he appears to have suffered nothing more than a bad bruise, and was joking in the clubhouse after the game. X-Rays have ruled out any sort of fracture, and Rhymes said he passed out due to a rush of adrenaline.

With the win, the Rays will retain at least a share of the American League East division lead, pending the outcome of the Royals-Orioles matchup.