Game 54: James Loney Helps Power Rays to Victory

By David Hill

Despite rain delays totaling four hours and twenty nine minutes, the Tampa Bay Rays managed to generate one big inning while their pitching staff shut down the Cleveland Indians.

The beginning of the game was delayed for just under two hours before the first pitch. After a scoreless first inning, Indians starter Corey Kluber recorded the first two outs of the second before another delay. This rain delay lasted 18 minutes, the Kluber recorded the final out of the inning before yet another rain delay. This delay lasted for just under two and a half hours, ending the night of both Kluber and Rays starter Matt Moore, who made just 11 pitches.

The Rays jumped out on Cleveland with two outs in the third. Matthew Joyce kicked off the scoring with a two run home run, breaking the scoreless tie. After a walk, Evan Longoria just missed a home run, belting a double high off the center field wall for a double to drive in another run. James Loney followed with a two run home run, and the Rays took a 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Indians did not have a baserunner until the fifth inning. After a leadoff walk and an error put runners on first and second, Josh Lueke came on in relief of Jamey Wright, who pitched three excellent innings out of the bullpen. Following an out, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. A sacrifice fly gave the Indians their first run, and Ryan Raburn followed with Cleveland’s only hit of the game, an RBI double to cut the lead to 5-2.

That score held up until the top of the eighth, when Loney struck once again, hitting his second home run of the game to give the Rays a 6-2 lead. They then put the game away in the top of the ninth, scoring three more runs on RBI singles from Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist and Sam Fuld en route to the 9-2 victory.

Wright, Lueke and Cesar Ramos combined for eight innings, giving up one hit and three walks while striking out seven batters, saving the bullpen for tomorrow’s game. Wright earned the win, as he gave up two unearned runs on a walk and a batter reaching on an error while striking out four batters in his three plus innings of work. Ramos picked up the save, pitching the final three innings.

Loney was 2-5 with the two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored.