The Rays finally had their first meeting with the division rival Blue Jays on June 29 in Toronto, starting a threegame series in which the Rays won the first two.
Roy Halladay’s return in the first game was quickly shot down by Jeff Niemann, who outpitched him in one of his greatest performances to date. Carl Crawford’s second deck home run opened up the scoring and a Pat Burrell home run (how about 30 more of those?) extended the lead. Tampa Bay won 41 and dropped Halladay’s record to 102.
The Rays repeated their 41 victory the next night as Matt Garza defeated Scott Richmond. B.J. Upton hit Richmond’s first pitch for a home run. Crawford and Willy Aybar later piled on with home runs of their own. First batter Upton hit one his first time up, second batter Crawford hit one his second time up and third batter Aybar hit one his third time up. The team extended its winning streak to seven games.
The third game proved to be the Rays’ downfall. James Shields pitched against Ricky Romero, who had dominated the Phillies in his previous start. Shields on the road is never a safe bet. Sure enough, Adam Lind, Rod Barajas and Scott Rolen homered as the Blue Jays took a home a Canada Day victory, 50.
The Rays still won the series, which they can always hold over Toronto’s heads. Now it’s time to face the Texas Rangers. Saturday night’s game will be televised on MLB Network and Sunday night’s game will air on ESPN. This bodes well for us. I hope Ian Kinsler beat Dustin Pedroia in AllStar voting, but let’s shut him down for a few days. Until next time, go Rays.