The Tampa Bay Rays (22-15) return to Tropicana Field after winning yet another road series. The Rays have now pushed their road record to 13-5, despite coming in this week to the best home team in 2011. The Cleveland Indians (23-14) came into the series with a home winning streak, which the Rays have now turned into a 2-game losing streak.
James Shields (4-1) continued his string of great outings today, going 7 innings while allowed only 2 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Justin Masterson (5-1) took his first loss of the season while pitching 5.2 otherwise forgettable innings.
Like yesterday, the Rays took the lead early and did not look back. Shields encountered only one difficult inning, the sixth, in which he allowed 2 runs on a homer, a double, and a single. The Rays, however, loaded the bases early and often against the Indians, scoring 4 runs in the second inning, 1 run in the 6th, and 2 more in the 9th -- all despite a combined 22 runners left of base.
Some notes from the game:
- Orlando Cabrera and Asdrubal Cabrera combined for a Cabrera Cycle, together going 4 for 7 with a walk, a single, a double, a triple, and a homer.
- Reid Brignac got his first extra base hit of the season, a two-run double to left field that break the early 0-0 tie. At first, Brignac could not see the ball and thought it had sailed foul. While he was standing at the plate, David Price began to yell at him from the dugout, at which point Brignac began rounding the bases.
- Johnny Damon also had two hits, a pair of bloopers, which helped him catch Tim Raines's 2605 hits.
- Shields also collected 2 more pickoffs today (though 1 of them was a bad call) and now leads the league with 7 -- despite the disadvantage of being a right-handed pitcher.
- The Rays are now a half game ahead of the New York Yankees, who play the Royals tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET.