Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rookie Jeremy Hellickson wins third straight start as Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore Orioles 3-2

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon said he was concerned early in Sunday's game as rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson didn't have his best stuff, specifically his fastball command.

Maddon said he wondered how long Hellickson would last. But he also had another thought:

"Let's see what he does."

What Hellickson did might have impressed the Rays more than his first two big-league wins, delivering a gritty six-inning performance in a 3-2 victory over the Orioles in front of 29,654 at Tropicana Field.

Carl Crawford provided the offense with three hits, including a homer and two RBIs, as the Rays (71-46) pulled within one game of the AL East-leading Yankees and moved five ahead of the Red Sox in the wild-card race.

And Hellickson (3-0), who is still likely headed to the bullpen after his next start Friday in Oakland, became the first player in the modern era (since 1920) to pitch at least six innings and allow three hits or fewer in his first three major-league starts.

"The first two games, (Hellickson) was on top of everything, the velocity, the break, the location, the tempo — everything was on," Maddon said. "(Sunday) it was not. He goes out there through six and only gives up one run. That really speaks to his pitchability, and that he's got all this guile at such a young age. …

"You can't overstate how good it is to see a young pitcher go out there without his best everything and be able to compete like he did."

Hellickson, 23, said he didn't have the same life on his fastball in the first three innings, and he couldn't locate it as well. But he liked his curveball and changeup, using those to get ahead, and never gave up on his fastball.

"I just kept throwing it," he said. "And it finally came."

And Crawford helped give Hellickson two one-run leads with huge hits, picking up his first multihit game since Aug. 1.

Crawford said that given how much he does with his legs, slumps tend to occur around this time of year, but it felt good to have a big day. "It kind of gives you confidence," he said.

Maddon said Crawford made a mechanical adjustment with his hand placement, and it paid off.

"In different times through his career, I've seen him where he'll drop off a bit and get in a little bit of a slump," Maddon said. "And then as he dropped, he just takes off. This would be a great time for him to take off."

Maddon felt Hellickson showed a lot by throwing his offspeed pitches when he got in a tough moment in the fourth, striking out Felix Pie and Jake Fox swinging with two on.

The Rays defense helped Hellickson, with third baseman Evan Longoria making a spectacular sliding catch into the bullpen in the first, and centerfielder B.J. Upton racing back to rob Adam Jones of extra bases in the second. And the bullpen closed it out; Joaquin Benoit got a huge strikeout of former Ray Ty Wigginton to end the eighth, stranding the tying run at third, and Rafael Soriano picked up his 33rd save.

It all capped off another win, and a teaching moment for Hellickson.

"He needs to know that if it's not all (working), he can still pitch a really good major-league game," Maddon said. "I'm sure he's done it in the past, I mean, this guy is different. But to do it under these circumstances in a pennant race that well, I think it's a great lesson for him and anyone else watching."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Rays 3

Orioles 2

Rookie Jeremy Hellickson wins third straight start as Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore Orioles 3-2 08/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 16, 2010 7:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]