Quantcast 2008 Tampa Bay Rays: Rays Extend Lead to 3 Games in AL East
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Rays Extend Lead to 3 Games in AL East

The Rays have taken advantage of Boston’s misfortune in the past week. With the defending champs losing six out of their last seven games, the Rays took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays and have taken a three game lead in the division. With all of the distractions going on regarding the Manny Ramirez charade, the Rays have just played solid baseball and they won on the road. They split with K.C. in K.C. and they just beat Toronto 2 out of 3 times, so the Rays looking good on their road trip before they head back home to face the Tigers. The Rays got great pitching but they could not get the bats going and they were still able to win the series.

Tampa Bay Rays merchandise In the first game of the series, the Rays had to go up against A.J. Burnett and Burnett was phenomenal. Burnett pitched seven innings only giving up one run which was unearned in picking up his 12 th victory of the season. James Shields went up against Burnett but he gave up three runs in seven innings as he lost on the road again and he has not won on the road against an AL team since March. He dropped to 9-7 on the year. Matt Stairs homered in the fifth inning and drove in two in the game. B.J. Upton drove in the only run for the lifeless offensive Rays in this game. B.J. Ryan picked up his 20 th save of the year as they took the game 3-1.

In the second game of the series, the Rays got some fantastic pitching from Matt Garza. Garza out dueled Roy Halladay in this game as Garza pitched a complete game shutout giving up only five hits in picking up his 11 th win of the year. Halladay pitched well but he gave up a homer to Eric Hinske and then Evan Longoria drove in two with a triple for some insurance runs. That is all that Halladay gave up but he could not get any run support and that led to his demise as he lost for the 8 th time this year. He pitched eight innings and gave up three runs while striking out eight. Lyle Overbay had two hits to lead the Blue Jays and Carl Crawford had two hits for the Rays as well. The Rays won the game 3-0 and evened the series.

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In the rubber game of the series, the Rays escaped with a 3-2 victory Wednesday afternoon. Edwin Jackson had another solid performance in this game, he pitched five innings, gave up seven hits, and struck out three. He evened his record to 7-7 this year and continues his up and down season. Carlos Pena hit his 18 th homer of the year to lead the Rays. Iwamura and Crawford each had two hits in the ballgame. The rookie Scott Richmond pitched for the Jays and he pitched a solid game in his first outing. He pitched five and a third innings giving up three earned runs off of seven hits, but he still suffered his first defeat. Joe Inglett had three hits to lead the Blue Jays, but it was not enough as the Rays held on to win the game and the series.

So with the Rays winning four of seven on the road, they have now increased their standing in the AL East with the Red Sox spiraling out of control and the Yankees still in the mix. Next up the Rays head home to face the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are still 6 games off the lead in the AL Central so they have a lot of work to do. The pitching probables are as follows:

  • S. Kazmir (8-5) vs. Z. Miner (5-3)
  • A. Sonnanstine (10-6) vs. K. Rogers (8-7)
  • J. Shields (9-7) vs. A. Gallaraga (9-4)


By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent

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