Rays beat up by Braves, lose 6-2

; they went three-up, three-down in five of nine innings. Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson offered his team a gem, pitching seven shutout innings and yielding only three hits to silence the Rays’ bats that had scored 10 runs on 12 hits in the game prior. Wednesday they managed only a single hit through five innings, as Carlos Pena bunted against the shift in the second. I’m not sure why more power hitters don’t lay down a bunt when facing that type of defensive alignment, but I guess I’ll just be happy that C-los does.

The Rays’ Wade Davis had a shaky start after pitching well in his last game, a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. His night was punctuated by giving up a two-out double and single in the third inning to allow three runs to score; that would be all they would need to win this game. After that, all was quiet until Dan Wheeler gave up a solo home run to former Ray Eric Hinske in the sixth. Atlanta added two more in the eighth to add insult to injury in a game that was over before everyone had found their seats in the outfield.

Tampa’s team was seemingly without a pulse until Evan Longoria advanced to second base on indifference with two outs in the ninth inning. Ben Zobrist singled him home and a pinch-hitting Dioner Navarro brought Zorilla around, cracking the first pitch he saw for a double. Alas, the last-minute heroics were not to be as recent stud Sean Rodriguez saw his 15-game hitting streak end as he grounded out to third to end the game.

[image-1]Hank Blalock’s shaft-job, I mean would-be run is worth mentioning. Blalock, who had singled hitting for Davis in the sixth, advanced to third on John Jaso’s double. He was called out on a fielder’s choice at the plate; subsequent replays revealed he was clearly safe and should have been the Rays’ first run of the evening. At the end of the day, it’s not worth lamenting too much. The blown call would have changed the score but not the complexion of the game. I don’t usually shy away from “if only,” ripple-effect style theories, but the facts are the Rays looked tired and weren’t going to win this one, evident very early on.

Never have I wished more for a rain delay. But this one’s in the books; it’s time to worry about Thursday’s game, with James Shields projected to start against Tim Hudson. We’ll see if Jimmy can overcome his recent struggles and put up a W to take the series and travel down to an empty ballpark to play the in-state rival Florida Marlins.

They waited until there were two outs in the ninth inning, but the Tampa Bay Rays avoided being shut out by the Atlanta Braves Wednesday night, losing 6-2 (this entry had originally been titled “Braves blank Rays” but I suppose they felt the need to spite me for being pre-emptive; I’m always happy to be proven wrong). It was an evening decided early. It was an evening decided by starting pitching. It was an evening where the Rays’ bats must have decided to get some rest, and anyone who stayed up to watch all of Tuesday’s game should have done the same, as the Bay area boys fell 6-2 to the Braves to bring the three-game series even at a game apiece.

In stark contrast to Tuesday’s outing, the Rays went down 1-2-3 to start the first inning with a whimper


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