James Shields has said both he and fellow starting pitcher Matt Garza must step up during the Rays’ playoff push.
Sunday afternoon, Shields delivered.
Though he couldn’t top Garza’s no-hitter of a week ago, he picked the perfect time for one of the best performances of his career, living up to his “Big Game James” nickname.
With the Rays facing the first-place Yankees and ace CC Sabathia while minus two key regulars, Shields shut down the majors’ top-scoring team in a 3-0 win in front of another Tropicana Field sellout crowd of 36,973.
“That was the best I’ve ever seen Shields,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Ever.”
Shields threw 71/3 innings, striking out 11 (including six straight) to help the Rays take two out of three from the Yankees in a series that had a playoff atmosphere. In doing so, the Rays (65-39) cut New York’s lead in the American League East to one game. ( TAMPABAY.COM)