When your staff ace gives up seven earned runs in 5.1 innings and allows twelve base-runners in the process, a team is not likely to pick up a win. However, the Rays did just that, kicking off the 10 game road trip coming back from a 7-4 deficit to win 8-7.
Shields did not have it tonight as he put the lead-off man in each of the first four innings and three of them came around to score. For most of the season, Shields has struggled to get run support so it was unfortunate that he did not have it tonight as the Rays offense was on fire tonight. Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell – two guys that were ice cold in June, went 4 for 10 tonight with two homers and six RBI to pace the club. B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford did their job setting the table as they were 5 for 10 and scored four of the eight runs on the night. On the flip side, Carlos Pena went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts so cue up the home-run derby pessimist crowd. In addition, Dioner Navarro had yet another unproductive night at the plate, further highlighting the biggest weakness the Rays should address in a deal before the deadline if at all possible.
This win tonight was critical as both the Yankees and Red Sox won again. Not to mention, Zach Greinke will be on the bump tomorrow night while the Rays wonder which Scott Kazmir will show up tomorrow night. I really hope this is a sign of things to come for Longoria in the second half as I am dying to use this image a few times in the coming weeks.