THE GOOD: Even more important than Carlos Pena’s 2-run home run in the top of the 9th with 2 outs that gave the Rays a 3-run cushion, was Akinori Iwamura handling the bad-hop ground ball in the 7th inning. With JP Howell relieving Grant Balfour with 1 on and 2 outs, Howell gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and walked a batter. He then ran the count to 2-2, before getting Esteban German hit a hard ground ball just to the right of the mound. Aki somehow handled the hop into his chest cleanly, stumbled a bit and made the flip to Jason Bartlett to save at least 1 run and end the inning with the Rays still in the lead.
THE BAD: Troy Percival. Show of hands: Who else wonders if Grant Balfour should be closing with Percy taking the 7th or 8th inning until he finds his groove again. Percival picked up his 21st save, but once again made it interesting, In addition to the home run by Ross Gload with 2 outs, Alex Gordon just missed a home run to the right of the foulpoul to lead off the inning. If Carlos Pena had not homered in the top of the 9th, the game might have ended very differently.
THE TELLING: This win ended the Rays’ 7-game losing streak on the road.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon said that the chances of the Rays making a deal before the deadling are “50-50 at best”…Meanwhile, one player rumored to be on the Rays’ radar, Xavier Nady of the Pirates, was traded to the Yankees last night. [St. Pete Times]