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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Yankees 5, Rays 3: On to Baltimore for a battle for first in the AL East
Posted May 10, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 10, 2012 at 11:34 PM
NEW YORK The Rays said goodbye to Yankee Stadium late Thursday night after a 5-3 loss to the Yankees and jetted to Baltimore for the start a showdown not many expected – a battle for first place with the apparently no longer hapless Orioles.
Both teams sit atop the American League East standings with 20-12 records.
An Oriole win against the Rangers in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader forged the tie at the top the standings.
The Rays will not begin the series on a roll, having lost four of their last five, including two out of three to the Yankees during the first leg of this three-city, eight-game road trip.
James Shields and David Price took the losses, while the Rays rallied in the ninth inning Wednesday for the lone victory.
Jeremy Hellickson flew ahead to Baltimore on Thursday afternoon in anticipation of tonight’s start. Hellickson tossed a career-low 3 2/3 inning in his previous start but remains undefeated at 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA.
He’s also 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four career starts in Baltimore, holding the Orioles to a .178 average in their home park.
Here are some odds and ends from Thursday’s loss …
—The Rays have lost eight of their last 11 in the Bronx.
—The Rays failed to homer Thursday for the first time in 12 games.
—Jeff Keppinger struck out for only the second time this season in 68 at-bats. He looked at called third strikes in both at-bats.
—Meanwhile, Carlos Peña struck out twice and has 39 in 115 at-bats this season.
—Chris Gimenez was 2-for-4 after entering the game in a 1-for-18 slide. It was his fourth multi-hit game this season.
—Will Rhymes drove in a ninth inning run with a grounder to short for his first big league RBI since April 4, 2011, snapping a stretch of 33 games without an RBI.
—Burke Badenhop pitched the eighth inning and struck out two batters. He didn’t allow a hit, although Yankees catcher Chris Stewart reached on an error by third baseman Sean Rodriguez.
—Rodriguez twice fielded slow-rollers barehanded and threw the runners out at first base.
—Elliot Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and a stolen base.