Heading into Wednesday afternoon's finale with the A's, Rays pitchers had struck out 10 or more batters in nine of the last 12 games and 12 of the last 17, for a total of 181 in 161 2/3 innings.
James Shields started for the Rays on Tuesday night and struck out 11, which was the 10th time this season a Tampa Bay starter had struck out 10 or more, which ranks first in the Major Leagues.
Luke Scott (mild strain of his right oblique) hit soft tosses on Wednesday and hopes to take batting practice on the field on Friday. At the very least, he plans on standing in the batter's box when Jeff Niemann throws a simulated game. The best-case scenario for Scott would be to see him head for a rehab assignment beginning Monday.
Shields' shutout Tuesday night extended his club record to seven career shutouts, all of which have come in the last five years. Tuesday night's effort was the first time he's had a game in which he didn't allow a runner to advance past first base.
It was only the fifth time that a Ray has not allowed a runner past first base in a complete game. Matt Garza was the last to do it when he no-hit the Tigers on July 26, 2010. Also, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Shields became the first Ray to throw a complete game with three hits or fewer, 10 strikeouts or more and no walks.
Following Wednesday's 4-1 win over the A's, the Rays optioned Josh Lueke back to Triple-A Durham. Lueke was brought in to help the bullpen after Monday night's 15-inning loss to the Athletics, but the club did not need him as James Shields pitched a complete game Tuesday night and Alex Cobb went seven innings Wednesday. A corresponding move will be made prior to Friday night's game against the Orioles.