Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays 4, Jays 1: Longo, Shields, Rodney and even S-Rod
Posted Aug 7, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Aug 7, 2012 at 11:35 PM
ST. PETERSBURG Call it a coincidence, but a lot of good things happened to the Rays when Evan Longoria returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing 85 games with a left hamstring injury.
None, of course, more important than the fact that they won, beating the visiting Blue Jays 4-1 at the Trop.
Longoria was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice RBI. The Rays are now 16-8 with him in the lineup, 41-44 without him.
Desmond Jennings had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. B.J. Upton doubled and scored. Ryan Roberts doubled and scored. Ben Zobrist drove in a run with a double. Jeff Keppinger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Here are some notes from the W:
—James Shields won back-to-back starts for the first time since he won five in a row from April 11 to May 2. He’s allowed only five hits and a run in his last two starts, totaling 17 innings.
He joined Rolando Arrojo (April 30-May 6, 1998) as the only Rays pitchers to have back-to-back starts of eight innings or more while allowing three hits or less. Shields pitched a three-hit shutout at Oakland in his previous start.
—Fernando Rodney threw another scoreless inning to set the franchise record for scoreless innings by a reliever at 22. Joe Borowski set the record at 21 in 2005. The franchise record for scoreless innings by any pitcher is 23, set by Shields last season.
Rodney’s scoreless streak is the longest active streak in the majors.
—Sean Rodriguez singled home the first run of the game. Of his last 15 hits, 10 drove in a run, while six of his last 12 hits either tied the score or gave the Rays the lead.
—Longoria, who has batted either third or fourth this season, is averaging one RBI per 4.25 at-bats. The Rays third and fourth hitters averaged one RBI every 11.7 at-bats during the 85 games Longoria spent on the disabled list.
—Before Tuesday, the Rays never had back-to-back starters throw at least nine innings all allow no more than two runs. David Price (Sunday) and Shields (Tuesday) turned that trick.
—The Rays are 45-8 this season when scoring at least four runs, including wins in 13 of the last 14.
—The Rays have won eight of their last 13 and have held opponents to one or zero runs in all eight wins. The pitching staff has a 0.50 ERA and an opposing batting average of .154 in those wins.