Tampa Bay Rays
Scary moment, then another Rays' collapse
ST. PETERSBURG -
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who was struck in the head by a line drive during Tuesday's 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, was upgraded from fair to good condition at Bayfront Medical Center this morning. Happ was still recovering but hoping to be discharged today, the hospital said in a news release.
Happ, 30, was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings during the second inning.
The ball was hit with so much force, it ricocheted down the right-field line and into the bullpen area, and Jennings ended up with a two-run triple. The game was delayed 11 minutes while Happ was examined by emergency personnel as he sprawled face-down on the turf near the pitcher's mound.
“When you hear the sound off the bat, and it sounds like it hits another bat, it's scary,” Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey said. “I just started praying on the spot.”
Happ's head was immobilized on a stretcher and he waved his right hand as he was carried off the field to applause from players in both dugouts and an announced crowd of 10,273 at Tropicana Field.
“The energy in the dugout, it was sad,” Toronto designated hitter Adam Lind said after the game. “We really weren't in the mood — it was obvious. Then we got some hits and got our minds off things that were bad. We got our minds pointed in the right direction.”
Jennings was so stunned by the blow to Happ's left temple that he raised both arms above his helmet in disbelief as he ran the bases.
“It's a sickening sight,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “I don't care what team you're on. … We just say our prayers that he's all right.”
The Rays scored four times in the inning but their bullpen blew yet another late-inning lead to spoil a strong outing by Tampa Bay starter Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez, who entered the game with a 5.28 ERA, allowed five hits and struck out seven in six innings, departing with a 4-1 lead. His only mistake was a 2-2 fastball that Lind lined into the right-field seats in the top of the second for his first home run of the season.
Battered all season, Jake McGee replaced Hernandez and promptly gave up a two-run home run to Colby Rasmus before retiring the side in the seventh.
Kyle Farnsworth could not hold the 4-3 advantage as Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista hit back-to-back doubles in the eighth.
In the ninth, light-hitting second baseman Maicer Izturis broke the 4-all deadlock with a one-out homer off Joel Peralta. Cabrera provided an insurance run with an RBI double.
Casey Janssen retired the Rays in order in the bottom of the ninth for his ninth save.
“By the end of the season, that's going to be one of the best bullpens in the American League,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said of an embattled group whose collective ERA soared to 5.19, highest in the AL. “There's all this crazy stuff happening. It's frustrating right now for the fans to watch this stuff. We have a confidence issue right now and we're going to get back to believing.”
A night after the Blue Jays erased a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7, Maddon was ejected in the bottom of the second and watched Toronto's latest comeback effort from the comfort of his office.
After a second-inning double by Sean Rodriguez and a James Loney single, Jose Molina pushed a bunt up the first-base line. Umpire Marty Foster called Rodriguez out at home, but Maddon argued vehemently that Rodriguez swiped a portion of home plate while eluding the tag of catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Replays appeared to support Maddon's claim, but he was tossed just minutes before Tampa Bay overcame its 1-0 deficit.
“I felt as though I needed to make a point,” Maddon said. “I thought it was an inappropriate call.”
A wild pitch by Happ tied the score, and Yunel Escobar singled before Jennings lashed his line drive. Ryan Roberts put the Rays ahead 4-1 with a single off Brad Lincoln.