Jose Lobaton's one-out triple in the ninth inning scored Yunel Escobar from first base and gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-4 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. It was the Rays' third straight victory and second during the streak that ended with a walk-off hit. Jeremy Hellickson turned in his best performance in four starts going six innings. He allowed three runs. It was his longest outing and he allowed the fewest runs in his past four starts. Hellickson said Thursday that he still needs to keep the ball down in the strike zone make quality strikes and get the big out. He did some of that against the Jays. He also allowed four two-out hits and three two-out runs. Hellickson has allowed 80 runs this season — 40 with two outs. But it was an outing he could build off of since he kept the Rays in the game. It was 3-2 when manager Joe Maddon called for Jake McGee to start the seventh inning. “He needs a good game to get him back where he wants to be confidence-wise” Maddon said before the game. Maddon said Hellickson's problems were part mechanical and part mental. “We just got to get his mind in the right spot thinking the right things” Maddon said. “Get the fastball and change-up back down. If those pitches are down and the change-up works off the fastball he'll have a good night.” Hellickson's pitch count was up — 106 (68 strikes) — but he was able to limit some of the damage. He had two outs and a runner on first base in the first inning when he allowed back-to-back singles to Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind. He allowed singles to Lind and Brett Lawrie to start the fourth inning. But he got Josh Thole to hit into a double play and with two outs and the runner now on third Hellickson got Kevin Pillar to foul to Lobaton. The Rays got a run in the third when Escobar tripled off R.A. Dickey and scored on a single by Lobaton.
Rays win third straight with 5-4 walk-off over Blue Jays
Tampa Tribune | Aug 17