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James Shields Pitches Complete Game; Rays Win 6-1

James Shields was on his game again, giving the Rays a win the their opening game in Toronto.

This recap comes courtesy of DRaysBay.

James Shields (W, 12-10) was Mark Wahlberg-hot tonight, pitching yet another complete game, this a 1-run, 12-strikeout affair. He only surrendered one walk -- to center fielder Mike McCoy -- and one home run -- to Brett Lawrie of all people. Outside of those events, the Blue Jays hitters cobbled together only 6 pathetic, miserable singles.

Shields's league-leading 10th complete game brings his ERA a touch under 3.00 (at 2.96) and fairly convincingly erases the memories of his ugly August 21st start against the Mariners whereupon he gave up 7 earned runs (despite pitching into the 8th inning).

Meanwhile, the Rays proceeded to hit a cavalcade of home runs: Desmond Jennings (2-run homer in the 3rd), Evan Longoria (2 homers, good for 24 on the year), and John Jaso (his 4th dinger of the campaign) all went crazy. Toronto scored first in this one, but it became obvious by the third inning that (1) James Shields was on his game and (2) therefore the Rays only needed two runs to win.

Notes:

  • Matt Joyce had a nice 2 for 4 day, hitting a double, hustling to third on a barely-wild pitch, and then scoring on a second wild pitch, sliding in safely on a close play.
  • Remember Johnny Damon's little hit streak? Well now its an 0 for 9 streak. Maybe it's time for him and Casey Kotchman to bat lead-off for a game, hit a homer, and then go back to work-as-usual.
  • Jose Bautista struck out three times -- rather, James Shields utterly embarrassed Bautista three straight PAs -- and then got ejected for complaining from the dugout, threw his equipment onto the field, and returned to the locker-room where he presumably cried and watched Spongebob.
  • A.J. Burnett got slaughtered (9 ER in 5.0 IP) by the Orioles tonight, and the Athletics are actively dissembling the Red Sox (15-4 in the 9th). The Rays seem a little hot -- the Detroit Tigers series notwithstanding -- so a serious cold streak from either one of these teams could make the next month quite interesting.

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