Quantcast 2008 Tampa Bay Rays: Rays Take Two of Three from Jays
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Rays Take 2 of 3 From Athletics, Hold 1 Game Lead

After taking two of three from the Blue Jays, the Rays got back to where they left off by taking two out of three from the Athletics too. After a seven game losing streak before the All Star Break, the Rays have bounced back to win four out of six games since the Break.

Tampa Bay Rays merchandise The Rays were happy to see Scott Kazmir back up to ace status and that he was Monday night. Kazmir pitched seven shutout innings giving up only two runs and striking out nine A’s hitters in the 4-0 victory. Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell came in to preserve the shutout. Evan Longoria connected for his 19th home run of the year and Aybar hit his 4th of the year for the Rays. That is all that the Rays would need in this one as they take the opening series. Akinori Iwamura had two hits in the game and drove in a run. B.J. Upton also had two hits in the game. Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust were the only two hitters to get a hit for the Athletics. Dana Eveland pitched five innings and gave up four runs off of seven hits while striking out four in the game.

In the second game of the series the A’s found their bats and out-hit the Rays in their 8-1 victory. The A’s snapped their six game losing streak in the process. Andy Sonnanstine pitched well enough for the win, but the Rays could not give him any run support in the loss. Sonnanstine pitched seven quality innings giving up three earned on five hits and he struck out five. The A’s were ready to play today though as Jack Hannahan went 2-4 with a home run and four runs driven in. Bobby Crosby also had two hits in the game and he drove in a run. Kurt Suzuki had three hits for the A’s and he also drove in a run. Dallas Braden pitched five innings giving up just one run on four hits and striking out one while walking four. He picked up his second win of the year. Carl Crawford had two hits to lead the Rays but the Rays could not muster up any offense in this game as the A’s tie the series.

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In the rubber game of this series, we had a pretty good pitching matchup. James Shields pitched for the Rays and Greg Smith for the Athletics. The A’s got two runs early off of James Shields in the second inning with home runs by Emil Brown and Carlos Gonzalez for a 2-0 lead, but the Rays countered in the fifth inning with Jonny Gomes hitting a bomb that hit the catwalk to tie the game at 2. The very next batter, Ben Zobrist drove a ball to right field for a home run to break the tie. The Rays added one more to make it 4-2 and Troy Percival came in in the ninth inning to save the game for his 20th of the year. James Shields pitched eight and a third of an inning, giving up the two homers, and he struck out seven for his ninth win of the year. The Rays take the game and the series with the win and now it is off to Kansas City for a series with the Royals.

The Rays need to improve their status on the road. The Rays head to Kansas City for a three game set now and with the Red Sox and Yankees breathing down their necks, the Rays need to continue to win. The Rays looked good against the A’s and the Jays taking two of three from both teams, but they need to keep it up against the Royals. The pitching probables are as follows:

  • M. Garza (8-5) vs. G. Meche (7-9)
  • E. Jackson (5-7) vs. B. Bannister (7-8)
  • S. Kazmir (8-5) vs. L. Hochevar (6-8)


By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent

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