photo credit: J.Meric/Getty Images
Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson congratulates third baseman Kelly Johnson on starting an inning-ending double play in the first inning Sunday. Tampa Bay beat Detroit 3-1.
by Steve Carney
Jeremy Hellickson became the fourth pitcher in Rays history to win five games in a month, and Jose Lobaton drove in a pair of runs as Tampa Bay completed a series victory over the Detroit Tigers with a 3-1 decision Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
The righthander was able to handle the Detroit lineup for the first six innings, with only Miguel Cabrera's solo home run into the Rays tank in the fourth providing the Tigers with offense. He got into trouble in the seventh by loading the bases with nobody out, but Jake McGee got Bryan Holaday to fly out to shallow right field for the first out. Austin Jackson grounded into a fielder's choice that erased Andy Dirks at the plate, and Torii Hunter flew out to end the rally with no runs coming across.
Sunday's win gives Hellickson five for the month of June, tying a club record set by Scott Kazmir in May 2008 and matched by David Price in June 2012 and Matt Moore this April.
Tampa Bay got on the board in the second, as James Loney doubled off starter Rick Porcello to lead off the inning, moved to third two batters later on a groundout by Luke Scott, and scored on a single by Lobaton to make it 1-0.
Following Cabrera's home run, the Rays countered with one-out singles by Wil Myers, Scott, and Kelly Johnson to load the bases before Lobaton untied the game with a single. Porcello then walked Yunel Escobar to bring in another run and set the score at 3-1.
Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta combined to throw a scoreless eighth, and Fernando Rodney earned his 17th save with a scoreless ninth.
Tampa Bay next heads to Houston for a four-game series, with Matt Moore (10-3, 3.95 ERA) taking on Dallas Keuchel (4-4, 4.34 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:00 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.