Tampa Bay returned to the Trop on Friday night to start a ten game home stand that will take the team all the way up until the All-Star break. Jeremy Hellickson took the hill in hopes of collecting his fourth straight win. Chicago countered with Dylan Axelrod who was not long for tonight's game.
The Rays jumped out on top early in the second inning with back-to-back homeruns by Jose Molina and Kelly Johnson giving Tampa an early 3-0 lead. Evan Longoria and Wil Myers both provided RBI hits to extend the Rays lead to 5-0 after to innings. Tampa Bay extended the lead in the fourth inning with an RBI double by Luke Scott and a sacrifice fly by Wil Myers, and it was 7-0 after four innings.
Chicago was able to get on the board with an RBI single by Josh Phegly but the Rays answered back in the next half inning. James Loney, who extended his hitting streak to sixteen games tonight, walked in the bottom of the fifth giving the Rays a seven run lead again, making it 8-1.
Hellickson was stellar tonight for Tampa Bay, giving them seven strong innings pitched. Jeremy scattered six hits over those seven innings while striking out nine and only allowing one earned run. Cesar Ramos came on for the Rays to close out the final two innings. Ramos made it through the eighth and while he struggled in the ninth, Tampa closed out the game and won game one of this three game series 8-3.