ST. PETERSBURG - Jeremy Hellickson didn't have it Wednesday night, and neither did the Tampa Bay Rays' offense. The result was an uncharacteristic 7-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in front of 25,095 fans at Tropicana Field. Combined with Boston's 15-inning win over Seattle, the Red Sox moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East. The crowd was the largest midweek night crowd of the season for the Rays, aided by the approximately 9,700 tickets purchased through the $2 Kids Ticket program. What they saw was the shortest outing of the year for Hellickson and an offense that struggled when presented with scoring opportunities.
The Rays were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving runners at second and third with one out in the fourth inning, a runner at second with one out in the sixth inning and the bases loaded with one out in the seventh inning when Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria each struck out to end the threat. The Rays were 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position and left 20 runners on base while splitting the two-game series. Wil Myers extended his hitting streak to 12 games to tie Akinori Iwamura's franchise record for rookies. Ben Zobrist had a pair of hits to continue his productive ways at the plate. Hellickson lasted 4.1 innings and lost for the first time since June 13. He allowed four runs on seven hits, including a two-run homer by Eric Chavez that made it 4-0 in the third inning. The Diamondbacks scored twice in the first. Cody Ross drove both home with a two-out single that followed an infield hit by Aaron Hill, who was called safe on a close play at first base to extend the inning. The loss snapped Hellickson's winning streak at six. The loss also snapped the Rays' interleague winning streak at nine and was just their second loss in 12 games this season against the National League. And the Rays' streak of consecutive series wins ended at 10. Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley held the Rays to a pair hits in 6.1 innings, and both hits came in the fourth inning when Myers reached on an infield single and Zobrist doubled down the left-field line. That put runners on second and third with no outs. Sean Rodriguez, playing first base against the left-handed Miley, flied out to shallow center field and Ryan Roberts, recalled from Triple-A Durham to replace the injured Matt Moore and playing third base, struck out. Longoria, who served as the designated hitter, and Myers drew back-to-back one-out walks in the sixth inning. But Zobrist flied out to center field, and Rodriguez struck out. The Rays, trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning, had one more chance to get back in the game. They loaded the bases with one out when Yunel Escobar walked, Jose Lobaton reached on an error and Sam Fuld walked. Heath Bell replaced Miley and struck out Jennings and Longoria to end the inning. email@example.com (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO