Game 132: Rays Spoil Solid Outing From Jeremy Hellickson

By David Hill

At a time when the Yankees and Orioles are facing off against each other, the Rays needed to have a big series against the lowly Blue Jays to stay in contention for the American League East title. For the first game, the Rays were unable to meet the challenge.

Jeremy Hellickson pitched six strong innings, allowing only four hits and one walk, but was victimized for two solo home runs in a 2-1 loss to Toronto. Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow scattered eight hits and a walk over 6.2 innings to pick up the victory.

The Rays had a chance to score in the second, putting runners on first and second with no outs. After a fly out, Ryan Roberts singled, but Matt Joyce was gunned out at home. Jose Molina then struck out with runners on first and second to end the threat. Desmond Jennings put the Rays on the board in the third, leading off the inning with his eleventh home run of the season to give Tampa a 1-0 lead.

Moises Sierra responded leading off the bottom of the frame, depositing the third pitch of the at bat over the left field wall for a game tying home run. The Blue Jays took the lead in the fourth, when Edwin Encarnacion hit his 35th home run of the season, giving Toronto a 2-1 lead.

The game remained 2-1 heading into the top of the ninth. Jeff Keppinger led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a fly ball to left. After a strikeout, Carlos Pena came in as a pinch hitter for Molina, and Pena responded with a single. However, Keppinger was gunned down at the plate attempting to tie the game, ending the night and giving the Blue jays a 2-1 victory.

With the loss, the Rays have now lost six of their last seven games, and find themselves 4.5 games out of first in the American League East, and 2.5 games out of the Wild Card.