Aug 7, 2013 2:20 AM by Associated Press
PHOENIX - Cody Ross has had more success hitting against Jeremy Hellickson recently than in explaining how he's done it.
Ross hit a three-run homer off Hellickson and Wade Miley allowed five hits in seven innings to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 on Tuesday night.
"He's got good stuff and located the ball well," said Ross, who is 5 for 11 with five RBIs against Hellickson.
"His changeup is as good as it gets and he lives and dies with it. There are just certain guys you time up well and certain guys you don't. I've hit him well the last two games but not as much before that."
Ross has hit safely in six of his past eight games, batting .452 (14 for 31) over that span.
"He's barreling the ball a lot better," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "You can see that coming on. He's much calmer at the plate and not jumping at the pitch."
Ross' eighth home run came moments after Eric Chavez doubled home Paul Goldschmidt to tie the game 1-1 in the fourth. Hellickson then walked Aaron Hill before Ross homered to left to make it 4-1 one pitch after fouling a ball off his right calf and falling to the ground.
"You can't walk the leadoff guy in an inning," Hellickson said. "I still could have limited the damage a little bit. I fell behind to Chavez and couldn't make a good pitch when I needed to."
Hellickson (10-5) failed to pitch past the fifth inning for the second straight outing for the Rays, both against the Diamondbacks.
Hellickson gave up five runs and five hits and three walks, hit a batter and struck out one as the Rays slipped 1½ games behind Boston in the AL East.
It was Hellickson's first road loss since April 25 against the Chicago White Sox.
Miley (9-8) allowed one run, struck out five and walked two for his fifth win in his past six starts.
"You want to get a good rhythm going," Miley said. "That's when you have success. Earlier I was getting upset with myself after one or two small mistakes and it's kind of snowballed. I get too quick and I'm just firing it up there, no mindset, no thought."
Chavez finished with a pair of RBI doubles for the Diamondbacks, who pulled within five games of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
"We just have to put runs on the board more," said Chavez, who has seven RBIs in three games against the Rays this season.
Tampa Bay went ahead 1-0 on Evan Longoria's 22nd home run with one out in the fourth.
Arizona added a run in the fifth when Hellickson walked Goldschmidt and Chavez doubled off reliever Jamey Wright.
Martin Prado extended the lead to 6-1 with an RBI double to center, scoring Adam Eaton in the seventh inning.
"We had a lot of hard outs," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We hit some balls hard for outs. I like our approach better versus Miley tonight but the four-spot did hurt."