Rays escape with Victory # 57
Last night, MC Hammer rocked the Trop with his songs and his high energy dancers. This group had all the energy of 3 Energizer bunnies with some pink fluff to spare. It was one of the best visual concerts I have even been to in my life.
Hammer had his music programmed, so he did not have to move around band members or stage equipment. The entire stage for set up for “Hammertime”, and he delivered a lights out show for the Trop fans.
I was especially looking forward to a old sone called, “They put me in the mix.” It is a great song with some expanded bass and awesome backbeats. It was also a favorite of mine when I was a skaterat a long time ago.
Last night’s game was a pitcher duel as expected. We all knew that the first pitcher to blink and show some form of weakness would be the loser in this contest. And the game lived up to it’s billing totally. Toronto ace, Roy Halladay was consistent on the mound for 6th inning.
In the Rays bottom of the 6th, the game took a turn for the Rays when Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a single to left. Akinora Iwamura then pushed a bunt single down the third baseline that hugged the white chalk before resting in fair territory for another Rays’ hit. It was Aki’s 15th infield hit of the year.
Carl Crawford put down another bunt single to the pitcher to load the bases and set up the drama for Carlos Pena. Pena responded by driving a single to the opposite field and score Zobrist. With the Rays up 1-0, and the bases again loaded Evan Longoria came up and on a 0-2 pitch drilled a grand slam to left.
With the bases empty, B J Upton reached on a infield single to thrid, while Dioner Navarro put down another beautiful bunt to get on for the Rays. Zorbrist ended the Rays inning by grounding out to first.
B J Upton had another caught stealing last night against the Blue Jays. Upton, who leads the majors with 12 caughts stealing situation this season, was out significantly on the play.
I have said it before, sometime this team give too much leeway to Upton on his baserunning decisions. Most of his baserunning blunders have been self-imposed because of ill advised leads or bad jumps. But this steal was a perfect example of the cather knowing his tendencies and reacting to them without a flaw.
Cliff Floyd has gone 6-20 in the last 6 games. He has also srated in 5 of the last 10 games, and with a single on Friday night, snapped a 0-20 streak with men in scoring position.
Floyd expanded on his streak by 1-4 with his 7th homer of the year. The homer would provide a cushion for the Rays later in the game. Floyd has a .340 average lifetime at the Trop.
Rays starter Matt Garza pitched 7.2 innings of 2-hit shutout ball before giving the ball to the Rays bullpen. Garza got 6 strikeoyut on 102 pitches to get his 8th win of the season.
Garza pitched a brilliant game mixing his pitches against the Jays and retired the first 6 batter to face him before Scott Rolen singled to leftfield. Garza then retired the next 12 Toronto batters before giving up a single to Matt Scutaro to start the 7th inning.
Garza was replaced by J P Howell in the 8th inning. Howell got ther last out of the inning and was replaced by Trever Miller to start the 9th inning.
The 9th inning turned out to be the big inning for the Jays. Miller, who had come on to relieve Howell gave up two quick hits to put Adam Lind and J oe Inglett on second and third with no outs.
Miller was replaced by Al Reyes, who had just come off the DL with shoulder tendonitis on Friday night. Reyes quickly gave up a single to Marc Scutaro that scored both Lind and Inglett.
Then Reyes got Alex Rios to pop out . Reyes then serving up a ground-rule double to Matt Stairs to right that hopped over the short wall by the Bullpen Cafe’ area. That put Scutaro and Stairs in scoring position with 1 out.
Dan Wheeler came on without a huge amount of warmup time and got Rod Barajas to ground out to second base. The play scored Marc Scutaro and the Jays slimmed the Rays lead to 6-3.
Wheeler then gave up a double to Lyle Overbay that scored Stairs and cut the lead again to 6-4. Wheeler then got Rolen to foul out to Navarro for the last out and secure his 4th save of the year.
All in all, it was an intersting game for the Rays. For the first time in a while, the Bullpen did not come through for the team and gave up 4 runs in less than an inning. But the Rays defense stiffened and got the 57th victory of the year for the squad.
The Rays did show that they are overcoming their problem with hitting with men in scoring position, but still left 7 men on base, 3 in scoring position.
Last night’s come-from-behind victory was their 25th of the season, which is ranked 6th in the AL. The Rays also improved to 17-11 in 1-run games, only the Ranger at 19-11 have a better record than the Rays in the major leagues this season.
Since the Rays swept the Jays at Disney World April 22-24th, they are 20 games over .500. They entered that series in 5th place in the AL East at 8-11.