Game 83: Tomlin, Indians 4-Hit Rays to Take Opener
You have to give Jeremy Hellickson some credit. He battled. His start had the potential for disaster after he allowed a solo home run each to Shin-Soo Choo leading off the and then to Michael Brantley in the second inning. Hellickson allowed at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched. He allowed 5 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings, striking out just 3. But he held the Indians to 0 for 11 with runners on base and kept the Rays in the game.
In the first 4 innings of the game, Josh Tomlin stifled the Rays as they manage solely an Elliot Johnson single. But they finally got something in the 5th. With 1 out, Will Rhymes hit a high flyball to deep right field hitting off the right field wall and just missing a home run, but deflecting far enough away from Sin-Soo Choo that Rhymes made it all the way to 3rd. He scored on a Jose Molina ground out. Elliot Johnson then reached on a dropped third strike, giving the Rays a little momentum. But Sean Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning, the first of 7 straight batters Tomlin retired to end his outing. Tomlin went 7 innings allowing 1 run on just 2 hits, striking out 3 while walking none.
Elliot Johnson hit a bloop down the left field line with 1 out in the top of the 8th and went for second base as the ball went into foul territory. But left fielder Aaron Cunningham got to the ball and made a beautiful throw to second base to gun down Johnson. Hideki Matsui then lined out to the end the inning.
Jake McGee tossed the 8th trying to get back on track following the go-ahead 2-run single he allowed to Robinson Cano on Wednesday, but he could not do the job, allowing a Travis Hafner solo shot to make it a 3-1 game. Desmond Jennings singled to lead off the 9th for the Rays, but Chris Perez retired the next 3 batters as the Indians won 3-1. Tomlin (5-5) got the win, while Hellickson (4-5) took the loss and Perez recorded his 24th save. It wasn’t quite as frustrating as Wednesday’s game, but it was their second straight loss. Jeremy Hellickson was nowhere near sharp, but he buckled down to keep the Rays in the game. However, the Rays offense came up with nothing. The Rays send Alex Cobb to the mound on Friday against Justin Masterson for the second game of a 4 game set.