Rays send Jeremy Hellickson back to minors after impressive debut victory

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Stud prospect Jeremy Hellickson was called up from the minors to make his big-league debut last night, pitched the Rays into a first-place tie by beating the Twins with seven strong innings, and was optioned right back to Triple-A minutes after the win.
He’ll be back, of course, but it underscores just how much young talent the Rays have that they could take a one-night look at Hellickson and then let him return to Durham after an extremely strong performance against another contending team.
Now, in fairness Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Orlando Hudson were all absent from Minnesota’s lineup because of injuries, but Hellickson’s seven innings of two-run ball were still plenty impressive. He allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out six, flashing a potentially dominant changeup in addition to a low-90s fastball and good curveball.
Hellickson ranked 18th on Baseball America‘s list of the game’s top prospects coming into the season and upped his stock even further by going 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 123/35 K/BB ratio in 117.2 innings at Triple-A. He’s the real deal and many teams would have had him in the rotation months ago, but the Rays lead the league in ERA and have a rotation full of 28-and-under starters, so for now the 23-year-old Hellickson will have to wait his turn back at Durham.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.