Rays Split With Royals, 1 Up in Division
The Rays continued to find ways to lose on the road as they split the series with the lowly Royals. They could not get timely hitting in the four game set and now they lead the Red Sox by 1 game and the Yankees by 3 games in the division.
In the first game of the series, Gil Meche shut the Rays down with seven shutout innings in picking up his eighth win of the year. Matt Garza gave up four runs through five innings to drop to 8-6 on the year. John Buck had two runs batted in and David DeJesus had two hits for the Royals in this game. Not a very exciting game at all as the Rays could not get anything going with the bats. Evan Longoria had two hits and Jason Bartlett went 3-3 in his return from the DL.
In the second game of the series, the Rays squeaked by to get the win. Edwin Jackson continued his up and down season and this time he pitched five innings and gave up two runs in picking up his sixth win of the season. He had little run support throughout the game but managed to get through it. Brian Bannister also pitched well for the Royals, but the Royals could not get him any run support either as he got the loss. Bannister pitched five and a third innings giving up three runs, two earned off of seven hits. Carlos Pena put a close game away in the ninth with a two run shot to right and the Rays held off the Royals to even the series.
How about a slump buster in this game. Yes, Carl Crawford who is mired in arguably the worst slump of his career had two triples in this game and two decisive rbis for the Rays. It was not easy for the Rays but they did manage to win the game 5-3. Carlos Pena hit another home run in the ninth inning in this game to ice it. Scott Kazmir pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs in picking up a no decision. An hour rain delay did not help Kazmir at all and the Rays could not get anything going for Kazmir as he departed after five innings. Troy Percival had a shaky ninth inning but he nailed the game down for his 22 nd save of the year and the Rays survived this one.
In the last game, the Rays bats were silenced as they lost 6-1 and end up with a split in the series. Give credit to Kyle Davies in this game as he pitched five innings and only gave up one run as he picked up the win. The Rays missed opportunities in this game though as they had runners on second and third with nobody out. Ron Mahay came in and got Carlos Pena to strike out, Willy Aybar to pop up to second base, and Johnny Gomes to fly out to left to end the threat. Andy Sonnanstine did not pitch well either as he allowed five runs on eight hits over six and two thirds innings. Billy Butler hit a three run shot that dented the foul pole in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Royals took this game 6-1.
Next up the Rays travel to Toronto for a series with the Blue Jays. The Rays took two of three from the Blue Jays when they were down in Tampa a week ago, but now the Rays go on the road where they have not fared well at all this year. They are 21-27 on the road versus 40-16 at home. The Rays will have to start winning on the road if they want to keep the lead in the AL East with the Red Sox and the hard charging Yankees right on their heels. The Blue Jays sit 8.5 games back of the Rays and are not much of a threat right now and may be trying to trade their two starting pitchers, Burnett and Halladay. The pitching probables are as follows:
By Andrew Nuscis
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