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Tampa Bay Rays' starter Jeremy Hellickson shows some emotion

BOSTON — RHP Jeremy Hellickson showed the Rays something Thursday. They knew the rookie could pitch well in tough situations, as he did against the Red Sox despite not having much command of his fastball to pick up his 13th win and lower his ERA to 2.91.

But it was the emotion the usually stoic Iowan showed — pounding his hand in his glove, throwing his gum — as he battled through 52/3 innings in the 9-2 win.

"He has that within him,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "He hides it pretty well, but it certainly indicates that beneath this really calm exterior there's a little bit of fire burning, and I kind of like it.''

"You rarely see that from him. It doesn't happen,'' CF B.J. Upton said. "Everyone in here knows how big these games are. He bowed up and made some pitches when he needed to.''

Hellickson sheepishly said he couldn't help himself, especially after allowing the Sox only one run when they rallied in the third and left the bases loaded: "It was a big game. It was a big inning right there.''

SHIELDS UP: RHP James Shields has the "Big Game" nickname, and he relishes the opportunity to pitch in big games, as he will tonight. "Every game from here on is the biggest game of the year for us," Shields said. "This is a time where people need to step up a little bit as individuals and help the team out. And I think (tonight) is a good time for me to step up and get this job done."

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Sam Fuld's right wrist was still sore, limiting him to pinch-running and defensive duties. Fuld, who strained a tendon on a swing Wednesday, said it felt "a little bit better." … RHP Kyle Farns­worth continued a rest-and-treatment regimen with his tender elbow but is not cleared to play catch, the first of multiple steps to get back on the mound. The Rays haven't ruled out a return for next week.

MORE MOORE: A homer by Orioles C Matt Wieters put a bad finish on it, but the Rays raved about 22-year-old rookie LHP Matt Moore's debut Wednesday, noting his composure, smooth delivery and deceptive velocity.

"This kid is going to be really good," Maddon said. "I don't know exactly how it's all going to work out in the near future and the future, but I'll say this: He has a chance to be very special."

Moore's velocity is his most eye-catching feature, especially because it doesn't appear that he's throwing that hard. Of Moore's 27 pitches, 22 were 95 mph and up, according to data, with three at 98.

"That was the easiest 96 I think I've ever seen," LHP David Price said. "When he threw that first pitch, I thought it was going to be 90-91, and it popped up at 96. It doesn't even look like the ball really jumps out of his hand. It's just so smooth. … It gets on hitters pretty quick."

MISCELLANY: The Rays have won 23 straight when scoring five or more. … Moore was the 10th rookie pitcher used, tying the team record (2001's 100-loss squad). With Russ Canzler's debut Thursday — walked and said it was "surreal" — they have used 16 rookies total, tying the 2001 team mark. … The win clinched a second straight above-500 road record (41-33, including 19-10 at AL East sites). … Moore might not be available again until Saturday, Maddon said. … The 34 active players are the team's most since 35 at the end of 2008.

Tampa Bay Rays' starter Jeremy Hellickson shows some emotion 09/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 1:05am]
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