For most players, an inning like Jonny Gomes had in the second yesterday would pretty much set the tone for the entire game. Within the space of ten minutes, Gomes had been embarrassingly thrown out at second while in his home run trot – believeing his line drive to right had cleared the wall, not bounced off the top of it – and then missed a routine fly ball, losing it in the wind and shadows. You would have excused him for thinking that it was going to be one of those days.
But Jonny is not really one of those sort of players. Next inning he came back to the plate, and delivered a sacrifice fly to give the Rays the lead for the first time at 2-1. Next time up in the fifth, he found another Andy Pettitte pitch to his liking and belted another line shot, this time to left, and this time clearing the wall by inches for a 3-run homer ad a 5-1 lead. That would be extended in the eighth with a solo-shot by Willy Aybar, before the Yanks completed the scoring in the bottom of the frame.
On the hill, Edwin Jackson struggled early on, but ended with a fine line of 6IP, 5H, 1ER, 2BB, 4Ks and the win. It really was very encouraging to see him work through the first couple of innings without giving up the big runs, and then settle down – he breezed through the last 9 hitters he faced with relative ease. He was followed by another perfect 7th from Dan Wheeler, a shaky 8th resulting in two runs given up by Trever Miller and requiring Al Reyes to get the third out. Troy Percival then came in for his first appearance of the year, and earned his first save since 2005 with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Other good news yesterday was that Scott Kazmir had a strong mound session as he works back from injury. If everything goes well there is a chance he could be back with the Rays at the end of the month – which would obviously be great news all round.
Today’s matchup is James Shields against Chien-ming Wang. So you may want to watch this one!