Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Breaks finally fall in team's favor
The Rays caught something they haven't gotten lately in their 8-3 victory Sunday against the White Sox: a few breaks.
The first was a line drive to SS Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the seventh inning with no outs and White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie running on the pitch. Zobrist was able to start an easy double play.
The second happened in the top of the eighth inning when 2B Ryan Roberts lifted what appeared to be an inning-ending fly ball to right field that would have left the bases loaded. Instead, White Sox RF Alex Rios dropped the ball, allowing two runs to score.
“Rios is an excellent outfielder, and you're not going to see that happen maybe once a millennium, but we were very fortunate (Sunday),” manager Joe Maddon said. “We have not had many breaks, but we'll take that.”
Instead of a 4-3 lead, the Rays turned a 6-3 lead over to RHPs Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney, who did their job.
LHP David Price, who earned his first victory of the season, allowed a two-run home run to DH Paul Konerko in the third inning that put the White Sox up 3-1.
But RF Matt Joyce tied the score at 3 in the sixth inning and Zobrist put the Rays in front 4-3 in the eighth with an RBI single.
“Pricy has not gotten a lot of breaks like that,” Zobrist said. “For his sake, it was nice to get those breaks.”
The right Price The he said/he said with home-plate umpire Tom Hallion aside, Price settled down after Konerko's home run and turned in a David Price-like performance over his final four innings.
After allowing five hits and three runs through 22/3 innings, Price retired nine straight and allowed two base runners the rest of the way.
“I thought he did well,” Zobrist said. “He had a lot of swings and misses and things that you like to see from him.”
Price was 0-2 with a 5.52 ERA in his first five starts. What's more, the Rays lost all five.
“It's been rough these first five and six starts,” Price said. “Just got to keep going. It is what it is. Things are not going to change if you don't continue to do what you're trying to do, and what I tried to do was keep pitching my game.”
Hellickson? Ejected? RHP Jeremy Hellickson was the player tossed from the game after the bottom of the seventh, the result of Price's claim that Hallion directed a swear word at Price as he walked off the field.
Hellickson said it could have been a number of pitchers ejected, since he, RHP Alex Cobb, LHP Matt Moore and RHP Roberto Hernandez voiced their objections to Hallion.
Hellickson said he had never been ejected from a baseball game, though admitted to drawing some technical fouls during his high school basketball days for objection of calls by the officials.
When asked what he thought the odds were of Hellickson being ejected, Maddon said, “A million-to-one. Maybe two. I'd be a very rich guy right now. Zo would be the other last guy, but at least Zo talks.”
Scott close to returning? DH Luke Scott, who played his fifth game Sunday with Single-A Charlotte, could be on a plane to Kansas City today if he can convince the team his right calf strain is no longer an issue and everyone agrees he can hit a major league fastball.
“(He's) kind of on track to join us in Kansas City, but we'll know more (today),” Maddon said.
DH/1B Shelley Duncan will be the odd man out when Scott returns.
More on Moore Moore is the only major league pitcher since 1916 (when records were available) to record five wins while holding opponents to a .121 batting average in the month of April.
He's also the sixth major league pitcher under the age of 24 since 1916 to go at least 5-0 in April, joining Babe Ruth (1917), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Greg Swindell (1988), Dwight Gooden (1988) and Dontrelle Willis (2005).
Noteworthy SS Yunel Escobar (right hamstring tightness) took ground balls before Sunday's game. “Hopefully he'll be able to play Tuesday,” Maddon said. … C Jose Lobaton's third-inning homer extended the Rays' streak of consecutive games with a homer to 14, one shy of the team record set in 2009.