9/4/2013 10:22 P.M. ET
Hernandez joins rare company with perfect relief
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- In earning his first save since 2006 on Tuesday night, Roberto Hernandez became just the fourth pitcher in Rays history to record a save and a complete game in the same season.
The veteran right-hander joined Albie Lopez (2000, four complete games and two saves), Joe Kennedy ('03, one complete game and one save) and Matt Garza ('10, three complete games and one save). Hernandez also became the second player in the Major Leagues to do it this season; Garrett Richards of the Angels also turned the trick.
Hernandez threw 3 2/3 perfect innings Tuesday night in relief of Matt Moore and struck out seven of 11 batters.
According to baseball-reference.com, it was only the 12th time since 1916 a reliever pitched at least 3 2/3 perfect innings with seven or more strikeouts -- most recently Arizona's Max Scherzer (4 1/3 innings, seven strikeouts) on April 29, 2008, against Houston. Only one other American League pitcher has had a perfect relief outing as long this season. Detroit's Drew Smyly threw four perfect innings against the Yankees on April 5, striking out five.
"The difference for me, he has been really confident and calm about the whole thing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "When he comes in and you give him the ball, he's like, let's go. It definitely gives us another tool to deal with as we move forward."
Lobaton heats up as confidence improves
ANAHEIM -- Jose Lobaton is hitting .327 with a .407 on-base percentage in 19 games since the beginning of August. Prior to that streak, he had just two hits in 29 at-bats.
The Rays catcher believes he's the most comfortable that he's ever been as a Major Leaguer, on and off the field.
"Before, I was more of a shy guy in the clubhouse, and on the field, too," Lobaton said. "You see a lot of guys like David [Price], [Evan Longoria], you don't want to get noticed too much."
Lobaton said he now feels like he belongs, which goes a long way in the confidence department.
"Everybody tells me, 'You're different this year. You're a funny guy, talking all the time,'" Lobaton said. "Before it was more like I didn't want to say anything where somebody might say, 'Look at this rookie, he's talking too much.'"
Even Lobaton's body language at the plate looks different.
"I've got a lot of guys here who helped me with that," Lonbaton said. "When you're struggling, don't show it with your body language. [Alex] Torres told me one day, 'You're struggling right now, you're a little bit down, don't show anybody that. Be aggressive no matter what. You're 0-for-3, but be ready to hit.' That worked for me."
Lobaton went 1-for-5 in Tuesday night's 7-1 win against the Angels.
"I'm happy when I hit, like yesterday I got one hit," Lobaton said. "But I was really happy that we won."
Delmon adjusts quickly at plate, in clubhouse
ANAHEIM -- Tuesday night, Delmon Young made his first start with the Rays since Sept. 29, 2007, prior to his trade to the Twins on Nov. 28, 2007.
The Rays signed the 27-year-old to a Minor League contract on Aug. 22. After a stint at Double-A Montgomery to sharpen up his timing against live pitching, Young joined the team on Sunday. Young went 2-for-5 Tuesday night, making him 3-for-8 since joining the team.
Prior to playing Sunday against Oakland, Young's last Major League game was Aug. 8, when he suited up for the Phillies against the Cubs. Young downplayed the work he had to do to get ready to play again.
"I had already been playing all year, so it wasn't like I was going into the beginning of the season without playing," Young said. "I just had to do a couple of simple things and then repeat them."
Young smiled when asked how being back with his old team has been thus far.
"It's pretty awesome," Young said. "Especially how laid back it is. This is how baseball teams should be: very loose and able to be yourself, and enjoy yourself while you're in the clubhouse."
And to be making a contribution so quickly as he did in Tuesday night's win?
"Just to get a win," Young said. "You don't want to go into Sept. 1 with a playoff spot and Sept. 29 without one. It was nice to get a win, because the teams trailing us and the teams in front of us, they're winning. So we need to keep winning and try to gain as much ground as we can on Boston before the big series at home."
Rays manager Joe Maddon called Young a "pleasure" when asked about having him back in his clubhouse.
"So far, among the guys inside, he's been great," Maddon said. "You can tell there's a difference in the maturity level in how he goes about his business. It's been very easy having him back."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.