Game 121: Roberto Hernandez Gets Roughed Up Again in Rays 6-2 Loss to Blue Jays

By David Hill

When Roberto Hernandez was signed by the Rays, it was expected that he would fill the role of a back of the rotation innings eater. Yet, over his last two starts, Hernandez had failed to get through the fifth inning. Against the Blue Jays, and with the Rays on a three game winning streak, Hernandez was looking to keep the Rays going.

Almost immediately, Hernandez ran into trouble, hanging a slider to Jose Bautista, which was rocketed to left to give the Blue Jays a quick lead. Hernandez got into more trouble in the third, putting runners on first and third with one out. A groundout by Edwin Encarnacion led to a run, and Brett Lawrie had a two out RBI single to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.

On the mound for the Blue Jays was J.A. Happ, who the Rays last saw when he was hit off the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings. This time, Happ was perfect through three innings before Jason Bourgeois led off the fourth with a bunt single. Happ landed awkwardly on his hip attempting to field the ball, and it seemed to affect his performance the rest of the inning. With one out, Evan Longoria looped a single to center, taking second on an error as the ball get underneath Anthony Gose to put runners on second and third. A sacrifice fly put the Rays on the board, and Yunel Escobar singled up the middle as the Rays cut the lead to one.

Hernandez, who had settled in and retired seven in a row, turned back into Bad Roberto in the top of the sixth. Adam Lind led off the inning with a bullet to right, and Brett Lawrie followed with a double to deep left. Hernandez filled the switch back to Good Roberto, striking out the next two batters before getting pulled for Alex Torres. Lawrie took off for third, and had the bag pretty much stolen standing up as no one was covering, but Torres attempted to throw him out instead of hanging on to the ball. The attempt got by Longoria, who was sprinting to the bag, leading to another run for the Blue Jays.

That run would be the final tally against Hernandez, who lasted only 5.2 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits and a walk. He was also victimized by two home runs, as he continued to leave pitches up in the zone.

Lind struck again for the Blue Jays in the top of the eighth, greeting the recently recalled Brandon Gomes with a home run to lead off the inning. That homer was essentially the death blow for the Rays chances, as they were unable to rally, falling to the Blue Jays 6-2.

Longoria was 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Ben Zobrist was 1-2 with an RBI and a walk in the loss.