Game 129: Shields Strong But Missed Opportunities Haunt Rays

By Robbie Knopf

1-0. Again. There is no worse feeling. Your pitchers dominated and you let them down. Again.

Yu Darvish was great on Tuesday night. But so was James Shields. They matched each other zero for zero with one exception- Ian Kinsler‘s solo homer in the 4th inning. That was it. Darvish went 7 innings allowing no runs on 6 hits, striking out 10 while walking 2. Shields allowed just 3 hits in 7 innings, but the one run, striking out 8 while walking 2. Darvish mixed his vast array of pitches beautifully, overpowering hitters the most with his fastball and cutter although each of the six pitches he used forced multiple swings-and-misses. Shields sent the Rangers down with a good fastball, a changeup as good as ever, and possibly his best cutter of the season. The difference: Shields made one key mistake- Darvish did not.

The Rays had their chances. Desmond Jennings led off the game with a single and moved to 2nd on B.J. Upton‘s bunt before he was stranded. Ben Zobrist walked leading off the 2nd and Luke Scott doubled, with Zobrist stopping at 3rd, before Darvish sent down the next 3 Rays to escape trouble. In the 4th, Ben Zobrist singled, Luke Scott walked, and two batters later, Ryan Roberts singled to load the bases. But Jose Lobaton grounded into a double play to end the threat. And then in the 8th against reliever Mike Adams, Sam Fuld singled with 1 out and stole 2nd base. But Evan Longoria struck out and Ben Zobrist hit a bullet to first base that Mitch Moreland made a great play on to glove on one hop and step on the bag to end the inning. The Rays went down feebly in the 9th versus Joe Nathan as the Rangers won 1-0. Darvish (13-9) earned the win, Shields (12-8) took a much undeserved loss, and Nathan notched his 27th save. The Rays will try to salvage a game in Texas on Wednesday as Alex Cobb opposes Matt Harrison in a 7:05 PM matchup.

Pitch data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.