While it's always a plus to have a super-human closer, the Rays ninth inning heir-apparent gave up the game in regulation, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs on a home run to left center by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the Rays' 3-2 Saturday night loss to the Sawks at Fenway.
You know, the worst part of this loss was the lack of extra-curriculars. Where's James Shields when you need him? The Rays' old man in the rotation surely would have put the bean-ball on someone's thigh in recompense for Boston tagging Luke Scott in Friday night's game.
Lose-lose, I suppose.
Anyway, it was a damn fine night of baseball, all things considered. The lack of fisticuffs and victory wasn't enough to spoil a good night of America's pastime. Sure, Rays fans would have liked a better outcome, but that was still a damn good game.
It was a pitchers' duel into the sixth inning, with Rays ace lefty Davis Price squaring off against Boston's slowest-pitching but super-talented Josh Beckett. The Sawks took a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth with some small ball. Despite a brilliant play by B.J. Upton to throw Punxsu... Dustin Pedroia out at the plate, Boston manufactured a run with Will Middlebrooks singling home David Ortiz.
Consecutive base hits by Upton and Matt Joyce put men on the corners for Ben Zobrist, who hit a sac fly to left to score Upton. Luke Scott, who still showed some hustle despite a sore right knee courtesy of the Boston bullpen, singled Joyce home for a lead TB would take into the ninth.
Despite having a few men in scoring position, the Rays didn't manage to add to their lead, putting Price's impressive start (1 run on 8 hits with 5 Ks and 3 BBs) squarely on the shoulders of closer Fernando Rodney. Well, he of the tilted cap, despite a lights-out 15-of-15 record for saves, had a shitty night. He walked leadoff man Daniel Nava, who advanced to third on a sacrifice by Nick Punto. Of course it doesn't matter what base the runner was on when Jarrod Saltalamacchia sends the 0-1 pitch into the seats. Walk-off, game over.
Fans may find it disheartening, but it was still a damn fine night of baseball; the Rays just didn't come out on top. I'm no one's cheerleader (seriously, have you read the shit I've said about this team), but the Rays still had a quality outing. I'm of the opinion that every silver lining is still obscured by a cloud, but shit happens. Also disappointing was the lack of scrum, but there's always tomorrow, right?