The Rays opened the week on Wednesday with another dramatic win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Ben Zobrist's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the team back-to-back walk-off wins over the Blue Jays. Zobrist had three hits, including a three-run homer, and B.J. Upton stole home in the first to put the Rays on the board. J.P. Howell (5-2) picked up the win in relief.
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The Rays showed up at the Trop on Thursday with their brooms, and despite some weather-related issues came away with a 3-2 win to sweep the Blue Jays. Rookie left-hander David Price (3-3) showed his stuff is up to it with six innings of work. The game was delayed for 20 minutes in the seventh inning when severe thunderstorms led to a lightning strike on a substation that caused the lights inside the domed Tropicana Field to dim. Some solid defense kept the Rays in the light. Price pitched six innings, giving up six hits, one earned run, walking one and striking out seven, and Dan Wheeler picked up his first save of the season.
On Friday, the Rays continued their roll with a 6-0 win over the Oakland Athletics as Randy Niemann (8-4) pitched a complete game. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria had solo homers. Niemann gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out six while giving the bullpen a well-deserved break.
The Rays' win streak came to a halt Saturday at the Athletic took the middle game of the series 7-2. Starter Matt Garza (6-7) kept the game in hand through six innings, but the Athletics' four-run seventh was his downfall as he gave up a game-tying two-run homer and couldn't finish the innings. The A's tacked on three in the top of the eighth. Gabe Kapler and Ben Zobrist had RBI singles for the Rays. Garza pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, walking one and striking out seven.
The Rays ended the first half of the season by dropping the rubber game of the series with the Athletics 7-3. James Shields kept things going well until the seventh (deja vu all over again?), when the A's put four on the board after Shields suddenly couldn't throw strikes, and then two in the eighth and one in the ninth. But Shields got no run support until the sixth inning, when the Rays plated three. Losing pitcher Dan Wheeler (3-2) pitched a third of an inning, giving up one hit and one earned run.
The Rays are off until Friday for the All-Star break.
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