Bats Coming Around for Rays

By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

ST. PETERSBURG (CBS) James Shields and the Rays bounced back from a one hit game Tuesday night and clobbered the Toronto Blue Jays in a 9-1 rout Wednesday night.

Joe Maddon’s squad knew what they were up against and showed no mercy tonight, with 12 hits and 9 runs after an overall disappointing night at the plate for the Rays on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay executed a combination of bunts, home runs and extra base hits to give Shields a comfortable lead early, which eventually led to a win for the 57-52 Rays. They are currently in third place and 11 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East.

Tonight’s win was a team effort and really set the tone for the rest of the Rays’ 10-game homestand at Tropicana Field.

“The guys were sharp tonight, that’s what I loved about it,” Maddon said to reporters after the game. “From a baseball purist’s perspective to see a team execute like that has to be fun to watch.”

Three consecutive bunts for base hits in the second inning gave the Rays an opportunity to score early, and they did just that. Ben Zobrist went deep in the second for his 15th homer of the year, and Tampa Bay played some small ball to catch an early lead. They would never look back.

It was hard not to feel for Jays’ starter Carlos Villanueva. He made an early exit in the second inning after giving up eight earned runs and a home run that would be the first of Rays’ rookie catcher Robinson Chirinos’ career.

Great offensive execution and a dominant performance from Shields ultimately sealed the victory and gave the fans at home something to cheer about.

The Rays look to win the series as they finish up a three-game set with the Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon. The first pitch is thrown at 12:10 p.m.

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