D-Rays 4, Texas 3. B. J. Upton returned to the lineup and to the top of the order for the first time since leaving last Thursday’s game with a strained shoulder. He responded by going 2-5 with 2 opposite field singles, including a 2-out RBI single in the 4th to drive in Josh Paul. The rest of the offense came from some unlikely sources as Greg Norton, not the most ideal cleanup hitter in baseball, had a career-high 4 hits. The bottom three in the lineup, Damon Hollins, Josh Paul, and Tomas Perez went a combined 7-10 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.
James Shields struggled but pitched just well enough to pick up his second straight win and even his record at 6-6. He survived a 1-out bases loaded situation in the first inning by getting Hank Blalock and Mark DeRosa to strikeout. He twice surrendered leads. In the 3rd, Blalock hit a 2-run home run that tied the game and in the 5th Blalock singled with men on 1st and 2nd to tie the game at 3-3. The Rays answered in the bottom of the 5th on a Russell Branyan RBI single. The biggest news of the game was the strong showing by the bullpen. First up was Brian Meadows who had struggled recently, giving up 11 runs in his last 3 appearances. Last night Meadows pitched 2 perfect innings, striking out 2 before giving way to the Rays’ newest closer Seth McClung. received his first save opportunity since returning to the Rays after a stint in Durham. He retired the side in the 9McClungth allowing only an infield single to Rod Barajas.
It is just one victory, but with Scott Kazmir on the mound Tuesday night, the Rays have a chance to start a little winning streak and possibly build some momentum in the last 6 weeks. That being said, we are sure that Kid K will pitch well, but his pitch count will force Joe Maddon to pull him in the 6th inning and the bullpen will blow a 3-1 lead leading to an 8-4 loss. Just a prediction.