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Rays

Hellickson leads Rays over Red Sox, 2-1

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 02:35 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

Afterwards there was laughter. Will Rhymes cracked a joke to relieve the tension caused by his passing out near the first base coaches' box at Tropicana Field during the eighth inning Wednesday night.

When Rhymes came to, he was asked if he could say his name.

"I told them I was Batman just to mess with them," Rhymes said.

But there was no laughing when Rhymes collapsed moments after being struck on the right arm by a pitch from Boston Red Sox left-hander Franklin Morales and the sight of a player down and motionless on the field sucked some of the wind out of the Rays' 2-1 victory.

Center fielder B.J. Upton said it was one of the scariest scenes he's witnessed on a baseball field.

"You never see anybody go down like that," Upton said.

The Rays were looking to add to their one-run lead before calling for reliever Fernando Rodney to close out the win, which he did, when Rhymes was hit by the pitch.

"I thought, well, it's broken," Rhymes said.

He said he remained in the game because he didn't want manager Joe Maddon to have to dig deeper into his bench. But as he stood on first base his arm began to swell. Rhymes said he felt dizzy and nauseous and started to walk off the field.

"Apparently I didn't get too far before my legs went out," he said.

Rhymes' legs began to wobble as he neared the coaches' box, where he was met by first base coach George Hendrick.

Hendrick put his hands on Rhymes' shoulders and Rhymes passed out. Hendrick lowered him to the turf as assistant trainer Paul Harker sprinted to the field.

Stadium medical personnel were quick on the scene.

The Trop grew eerily quiet as Rhymes was attended to. After a minute or so, Rhymes sat up. He was placed in a cart and driven off the field through a gate in center field, receiving an ovation as he went.

All this on a day that began with outfielder Brandon Guyer being sent to the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. Guyer is the third Ray to land on the DL this week and the ninth this season.

Said left fielder Matt Joyce: "It's terrible. It kind of seems like there's an epidemic."

"It's like it never ends," Upton said. "But we continue to find a way to make it work."

Maddon offered a reason why the Rays continue win while they continue to lose players.

"It's pouring right now, but our guys have their umbrellas up right now," Maddon said. "We're doing OK."

It was the Rays' fourth straight win, who improved to 10 games above .500. The loss snapped Boston's five-game winning streak.

Jeremy Hellickson won for the fourth time this season and remained undefeated.

Joyce hustled home from third base with the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, scoring on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field.

Jake McGee and Joel Peralta built the bridge to Rodney, who worked the ninth inning, allowed a two-out single, and earned his 12th save in 12 chances.

The Rays scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Carlos Peña singled to right-center field and eventually scored on a balk.

The Red Sox tied the score in the fourth with a two-out rally against Hellickson. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right field. Hellickson walked Cody Ross and allowed a run-scoring single to Daniel Nova.

The Rays went back in front in the sixth when Joyce singled off the leg of Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. Joyce went to third on another single to right by Peña and hustled home on Luke Scott's sacrifice fly to short right field.

Ross, the Red Sox right fielder, running hard to catch up to the ball, actually over-ran it. His momentum carried him backward as he made the catch and Joyce alertly tagged and raced home.


rmooney@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7227

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