Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/31/13
He threw strikes got outs on ground balls and gave his team a chance to win which is everything the Tampa Bay Rays wanted from Roberto Hernandez when they signed him as a free agent in the offseason. Even so he could have made his last start for a while. Hernandez who appears to be the odd man out when the Rays go to a four-man rotation for the first half of August turned in one of his best start of the season Tuesday throwing his first complete game since 2010 in the Rays' 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Tropicana Field in a game delayed 20 minutes in the bottom of the second inning because of a lightning strike at a nearby substation. Hernandez is the fourth Rays pitcher to throw a complete game since July 22 and came within one out of a shutout. But Eric Chavez ruined that with a two-out two-run home run in the ninth inning. "That's what you're looking for" Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He puts the ball on the ground. We've got to be in the right spots and if we're in the right spots this guy is going to pitch a lot of games like that." But maybe not until after the Rays get through their stretch of five off days in the first 22 days of August. When asked if Hernandez's performance could alter the plans Maddon said "No we're still thinking different things." The Rays have yet to set their rotation for the weekend series with the Giants. Maddon said he will announce that before the Rays finish this two-game series tonight with the Diamondbacks. Hernandez allowed five hits and struck out six Tuesday. He got 14 outs on groundballs. "There were times when he threw the ball better (this season) but not with the same results that we wanted" catcher Jose Molina said. "(Tuesday) was really really special because of the results." The win enabled the Rays to maintain their half-game lead on second-place Boston. It also proved the Rays were not going to fall victim to a letdown after returning from an emotional 10-game road trip that opened the second half of the season with eight wins against divisional opponents. The Rays played their first game at the Trop after the All-Star Break their first there in 16 days overall. They were fresh off a road trip that saw them overtake the Red Sox for the division lead. And local fans responded. The crowd of 17402 was the largest to see the Rays play a Tuesday night game this season at the Trop. "We're doing everything we need to do" said Wil Myers who extended his hitting streak to 11 games. "We're pitching well we're hitting well we're getting timely hitting. Our bullpen is coming in and shutting the door. "Right now it's just a lot of fun here."
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