BOSTON - This time it was a big inning by the Tampa Bay Rays that knocked Jeremy Hellickson out of the game. A three-run seventh produced a four run lead, and that's when Rays manager Joe Maddon decided it was time to call it a night for Hellickson. "You look for the moments where a guy leaves the field only feeling good about himself," Maddon said. Especially for a pitcher like Hellickson, who has let leads and games get away late by surrendering big innings.
Not Wednesday. Hellickson kept the Boston Red Sox in check for six innings and the bullpen did the rest as the Rays won 6-2. The victory, only their third against the Red Sox this season, snapped the Rays' five-game losing streak this season in Boston and prevented them from dropping to .500 for the first time since May 25 when they were 24-24. "Hopefully, this is the kind of game that pushes you in the right direction," Maddon said. The Rays, who totaled 10 hits during Tuesday's doubleheader, had 15 Wednesday. Included were three from Jose Molina and the first extra-base hit for rookie Wil Myers, a two-run double in the seventh that finished the scoring. Maddon said Myers' double was the biggest hit of the night. "Those add-on runs in this ballpark are significant, because they can come back at any moment," he said. It was a deluge of runs as far as the Rays are concerned when playing this year at Fenway Park, where they hadn't scored more than two runs in their first five games. Hellickson made it stand by allowing the Red Sox single runs in the second and fourth innings. He has not allowed a walk in four starts this month. "It was nice to actually finish a game on a good note," he said. When asked if he did anything differently, Hellickson said, "had a good sixth inning." Hellickson allowed eight runs in the sixth inning of his previous start. He retired the Red Sox in order in the sixth Wednesday, striking out the final two batters. "I'm right where I want to be," he said. "I just want to eliminate the big inning that I've been giving up. (Wednesday), I got out of the two jams I was in. It was good to see." Maddon liked what he saw from Hellickson, who won for the third time in his past four starts. "Helly did a nice job of mixing his pitches," Maddon said. "Better location overall. Better command of what he was doing." Hellickson entered the night having allowed 54 earned runs, which were tied with Milwaukee's Wily Peralta for the most in the major leagues. Those runs came in bunches, too. Hellickson allowed three or more runs in eight innings this season. That included innings of five, six and eight runs. The Rays scored twice in the first on a home run by Desmond Jennings and a sacrifice fly by James Loney that scored Ben Zobrist. The Rays regained the lead in the fifth when Molina singled and scored from second on a single by Zobrist. Molina singled in the sixth inning, too, to give him five hits in five at-bats dating to the first game of Tuesday's day/night doubleheader. Molina's fifth-inning run broke the glass ceiling of two runs at Fenway Park. It was also one more run than the Rays scored in 18 innings Tuesday. The Rays poured it on in the seventh inning, scoring three more times. Jennings singled with one out and scored from first when Longoria singled off the Green Monster in left field. Loney, who had one hit in his previous 27 at-bats, sent a line drive up the left field line to put runners on second and third for Myers. The Sox brought in right-hander Alex Wilson to face Myers, and Myers doubled to right-center field to score both runners. [email protected] (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO