Tropicana Field influenced a misjudgment from Blue Jays right fielder Randal Grichuk, leading to an inside-the-park solo home run for Rays DH Avisaíl García in the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night. Ahead two balls and no strikes against Clayton Richard, García popped up a fastball to shallow right field. García hung his head in disappointment for not hitting the ball well. Grichuk lost the ball in Tropicana Field’s roof. The ball ended up dropping some 30 feet behind him, bouncing all the way to the fence in the right field corner. García came all the way around to score, boosting the Rays’ lead to 2-0. They would go on to win 3-1.
Tropicana Field is frequently the cause of baseball’s stranger plays. Along with players losing track of the baseball in the white roof, fly balls have been known to strike speakers and catwalks. The ground rules for the Rays’ digs are interesting, to say the least.
Though it may be obvious to seasoned baseball fans, it is worth pointing out that García was indeed credited with a home run and Grichuk was not charged with an error.
García also singled and scored in the first inning, finishing 2-for-4 on the evening. The Yankees lost to the Padres 5-4 on Tuesday, so the Rays picked up a game in the standings and are now only one game behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East.
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.