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Rays Vs. Athletics Recap: Shields Has A Rough Fourth, Rays Lose 13-4

James Shields could not buy an out. Shields (L, 9-9) cruised pretty easily through the first inning, got saved on an excellent Sam Fuld throw to home in the second inning, got tagged for a run in the third, and then lost a football game in the fourth.

James Shields' fourth inning went like this: Walk. Single. Sac bunt. Triple. Walk. Single. Fly out. Homer. Double. Single. Homer. Strike out.

It was a murderous inning. All told, the Oakland A's had a 10 to 0 score and an easily-predicted win by the top of the fifth.

This, of course, does not mean James Shields has gone completely kaput, that his season is ruined, or that his strong first half was an illusion. Indeed, his strong first half had been partially a product of good luck, so hopefully Shields has balanced all that luck out in one go 'round, rather than being unlucky in several games over the final stretch.

Meanwhile, as the Rays watched their ace melt into puddle of despair, the A's starter Trevor Cahill (W, 9-9) whatever'd his way to a win, pitching 7 and 1/3 of scoreless, non-explosive, boring, efficient baseball.

Notables from the game:

  • Desmond Jennings, playing center field for the first time this season, made a nice sliding grab on a line drive late in the game. He did, however, look a little iffy going back on balls hit deep -- iffy at least when compared to deep ball master-thief, B.J. Upton.
  • Rather than do something exciting like ask Sam Fuld to pitch, Rays manager Joe Maddon elected to have recently recalled Rob Delaney and Brandon Gomes pitch the final four frames. Delaney went three innings and allowed as many runs; Gomes pitched a quiet eighth.
  • In the bottom of the ninth inning, with nearly half starting Rays player pulled or moved around, the Rays scored four runs, two of which came on an impressive home run from Matt Joyce, who worked a 1-2 count full and then blasted a dinger into right.
The Rays look to avoid the four-game sweep tomorrow, taking on the suddenly Mark Wahlberg-hot Oakland A's at 3:35 p.m. ET.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.