After beating the Rangers, 6-0, on Sunday, the Rays couldn't decide on the game's MVP. Was it B.J. Upton, who crushed three homers? Or was it James Shields, who twirled a two-hit shutout?
"Player of the game, as far as I'm concerned," Shields said of Upton, who countered that Shields was "still the big story."
Turns out, in a way, they were both right. Shields and Upton were named the American League's co-Players of the Week on Monday, becoming the first Rays to share the honor and the second pair of teammates to accomplish that feat this season, along with Angels outfielders Mike Trout and Torii Hunter.
Shields won both of his starts last week, shutting down two of the Majors' top offenses by going 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three walks over 17 innings against the Yankees and Rangers. Shields, taking home his fourth weekly award, gave up three runs on five hits with five strikeouts against New York on Monday, picking up the win as Upton went 1-for-3 with a homer, walk, stolen base and two runs scored in a 4-3 win.
Overall, Upton hit .400 on the week with a double, five homers, six RBIs, seven runs and three stolen bases in six games. This is Upton's third time winning the award, but his first since June 2009. The center fielder tied for the Major League lead in homers last week and once again appears to be heating up in September, as he's done throughout his career.
And both Rays were at the top of their game Sunday, with Upton hitting his team-leading 19th, 20th and 21st homers and becoming just the third Tampa Bay player to hit three homers in one game. Shields, meanwhile, struck out eight during his 101-pitch shutout. That lowered the right-hander's ERA to 1.90 since July 31, an eight-start stretch during which he has held opposing hitters to a .152/.189/.270 batting line.