The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox entered Tuesday night’s action tied for the AL Wild Card lead, with only two games remaining in season. As the Red Sox get to face off against the Orioles, the Rays essentially need to win their final two games in order to ensure a shot at the playoffs.
So far in tonight’s game, the Rays have been walking a tightrope. While the jumped ahead to a 2-0 lead in the second inning off a home run from Ben Zobrist, their starter Jeremy Hellickson has nearly let up the lead multiple times over. He let up a solo home run to Russell Martin in the third, and managed to squeeze out of a 1st and 3rd, no outs jam in the fifth while only allowing one run. So entering the top of the sixth inning, the Rays and Yanks were all tied up, 2-2.
And then things started to fall apart. Hellickson had been nibbling and missing the plate all night long, and he started the inning with a walk to Alex Rodriguez. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both doubled, scoring Alex Rodriguez, and Hellickson then intentionally walked Jorge Posada to set up the double play.
But lo and behold, the Rays got lucky. Russell Martin hit a bouncing grounder right to third base, and Evan Longoria was able to start up a relatively easy 5-4-3 triple play to escape the inning with minimal damage. Through six innings of play, the score is still 3-2 New York.