Tampa Bay-New York: Edwin Jackson Shines as Rays Win in 11

Steven WynockerCorrespondent IMay 14, 2008

The Rays won their 11th-straight home game Tuesday night, in walk-off fashion over the New York Yankees.

Edwin Jackson was dominant again as he shutout the Yankee lineup through seven innings Tuesday night. For the past couple of seasons, the Rays' fans and players have seen the power and potential in Edwin Jackson, but this year it is present for everyone to see.

Why is this year different than the past? For me, it is simple. When I looked up at the scoreboard last night, I saw that out of 100 pitches thrown, 66 were strikes.  In the past few years, Jackson would reach 100 pitches by the fourth inning, and his strike/ball ratio would not be close to what it was last night.

He is hitting the corners at 94 mph plus, and he is developing a curveball, as well as a changeup, to go with his devastating slider. As the season matures, so does his pitching performances.   

Dan Wheeler came in to pitch the eighth, and Troy Percival closed the game.

Last week Jackson pitched eight scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, but did not get the win as Percival blew his first save on the season. The Rays went on to win that game in extra innings. Tuesday night was the same situation as Percival gave up a one-out, solo home run to tie the game at one.

The Rays would go on to win the game in walk-off style. Cliff Floyd singled to right to start off the 11th inning. Jonny Gomes pinch ran, and stole second, his third stolen base in two games. With no one out, Gabe Gross grounded sharply up the middle, and home came Gomes.

Gomes flipped up his helmet, and the celebration began as the team ran after Gomes and Gross to rejoice after their sixth-straight win and 11th-straight home win.

This win has put the Rays in first place, as the Boston Red Sox dropped one to the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays are 23-16, and in first place for the first time this late in the season.

The Rays will send shutout-sensation James Shields, who will look to back up his one-hit complete-game shutout in his last start against the Angels. The Yankees' veteran Mike Mussina will look to end their two-game skid.