As the Remdawg said after the final out of the ninth, "he was outstanding." Sadly, James Shields shut down the Red Sox for a full nine innings, allowing just five hits and three walks in his third shutout of the season. Sadly, Tim Wakefield's quality start was wasted, as the knuckleballer went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and five walks.
The Sox didn't do too much to help themselves, as they grounded into three inning-ending double plays, despite the fact that "Big-Game James" as he calls himself, has historically had very limited success against the Red Sox.
The local nine, of course, saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end, and as the Yankees are currently administering a beating to the Rangers in the Bronx, both the Rays and Yankees will pick likely up a game on the Red Sox in the American League East standings.
The story of the night was Carl Crawford's return to the Trop for the first time since signing with the division rival Red Sox this past offseason. The left-fielder definitely heard some boos as he came to the plate for the first time, but there were more cheers - I think most Tampa Bay fans realize what he did for the team, and they certainly can't expect all of their players to sign team-friendly, long-term deals like Evan Longoria did.
Like I said in my last post, winning is the best revenge, and the Rays certainly didn't need Crawford tonight - Shields performance was more than enough to get them the win. It's just a pity that it came against Wakefield, who is inching closer to the Red Sox all-time record for wins (192, held jointly by Roger Clemens and Cy Young).
Timmy is just 10 wins away, and time is ticking... it's unlikely that the Sox will sign him for next season, and it sucks when Wake gets a worthy start wasted. However, as much as it pains me to say this, Shields deserved the win tonight. Hopefully Wakefield gets to stay in the rotation and keep chugging toward his dream.