Rays Pound Tigers 9-3
When the gates opened on Saturday, the first 10,000 fans got to get a B J Upton figurine and a chance to get his and Carl crawford’s autographs before the game. Also in attendance was Hall of Famer Monte Irvin in the Ted William’s Museum area signing and taking pictures with the fans. Irvin is looking in pretty fragile state, and sat in his wheelchair most of the signing. I hope it is nothing serious, we have lost alot of great elder baseball statesmen lately, and the smiling Irvin would be a true loss to us all.
As I enterd the Trop., a member of the marketing team gave me my figurine and told me it was a special one. He told me to find him later and tell him what is so different about it. I saw on the figurine outer box that it had a limited edition numbering and a base plate that said, “B J Upton 2.”
Mine did not have that numbering, or the lettering mentioned above. Instead, it said “Bossman Junior 2. I will put a picture of it up on my next blog near the bottom for the skeptics. As you might know, Boss man Junior, or B J, is in referrence to a family nickname for Upton that started with his father, Manny, who is Bossman Senior. It will be a treasured collectible along side my Rays old on deck circle, and the original proof of the stadiums plans that I got from an old construction company a friend’s father owned that did original work on the Florida Suncoast Dome/Thunderdome/Tropicana Field.
Evan Longoria and Jason Bartlett put on a hitting fireworks show last night before the L L Cool J concert. Longoria went 3-5 in the contest with 3 RBIs, and is now raised his average to .280 for the season.
Longoria hit his 26th double of the season in the 2nd inning and scored Carl Crawford from second base on the play. Longoria ended up on third advancing on the throw home. Longoria also singled to left in the 4th inning and scored Akinora Iwamura to put the Rays up 6-2.
Ex-Rays Casey Fossum was pitching for the Tigers’ when Longoria connected on his 21st homer of the season in the 6th inning. Longoria currently leads all MLB rookies in homers with 21.
His 21st homer also tied him with Jonny Gomes for the Rays’ rookie record for homers in a season. Longoria also leads all MLB rookies with a .528 Slugging Percentage, 195 total bases, and 50 mextra base hits on the year.
Jason Bartlett had his own hitting fireworks by going 3-4 with 2 runs scored in the game. Bartlett connected on his 11th double of the season and spread out two other singles throughout the game in the 2nd and 4th inning. Bartlett also reached base on a error in the 5th inning. for his only non-hit time on base last night.
Bartlett is hitting .325 since June 13th. Bartlett is currently 8 for 9 in steal attempts at third base this season. He was thrown out tonigt for the first time by Tiger’s catcher Brandon Inge.
Shawn Riggans, starting for Dioner Navarro tonight had an interesting start to the game. In the first inning, Tiger Curtis Granderson struck out swinging, but Riggans dropped the ball. His throw towrds first took the glove off of Carlos Pena and Granderson was safe at first base. Granderson ended up benig the front part of a double play in the inning. Pena’s glove was shot a good 5 feet to the infield side of the turf by Riggan’s throw.
Riggans had another interesting play in the bottom of the 6th inning. Riggans hit a beautiful shot to left that scored Willy Aybar. Tigers’ leftfielder, Matt Joyce made a perfect throw to the plate to try and get Aybar, but did not get it there in time.
Riggans was trying to stretch the play into a double and advancing to third on the throw, but was caught in “no-man’s land” and was tagged out by shortstop Edgar Renteria. Great thought, bad execution.
Andy Sonnanstine did not pitched a great game for the Rays, but the Rays again surrounded him with clutch runs and spotted him an early lead in the game. Sonnanstine lasted 6 innings and threw 2-hit, 2-run ball for the contest.
He had several innings where the Tigers were getting to him, but great defensive plays behind him kept him in the game and help secure his 11th victory of the season. Sonnanstine also had 6 strikeouts in the game while throwing 102 pitches.
Sonnanstine has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 9 of his last 11 starts this year, and his .625 win percentage prior to tonight’s game is the best in Rays history for 15 decisions.
Rays Reliever Al Reyes came on in the 7th inning and gave up 3-hits and a lone run for the Rays. Coming into tonight’s game Reyes has pitched in 5 contests since coming off the DL and has a 6.75 ERA. Reyes has pitched 4 innings and has given up 6 hits and 4 runs since his return.
In other great plays tonight, B J Upton hit a nasty looking ground rule double that snaked over the centerfield wall in the 2nd inning. Upton scored later in the inning to put the Rays up 3-0. It was Upton’s 24th double of the season.
Gabe Gross threw a rocket to third in the after Miguel Caberra doubled to right and gunned down Carlos Guillen in stride. It was Gross’s 5th outfield assist this year. Gross also got an RBI in the 4th inning when he walked with the bases loaded to put the Rays up 7-2.
Carl Crawford went 1-3, but scored 2 runs and got 2 RBI’s on the night for the Rays. He has hit safely in last 7 games, and is 10-26, with 2 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 RBIs.
Of course, tonight’s contest was a sellout,and is the 8th sellout of the year for the team. Tonight’s game is also the second fastest game to sellout in Rays history, behind the first game in franchise history on March 31, 1998. Both of these sellouts were against the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers also hold another bit of Rays history all to themselves. They are also the only team we have ever had a home double header against in our short history.
The Rays 42 home wins leads the majors and broke the previous record of 41 wins at home set in 2004, and 2006. The Rays are also 15-1 in front of 30,000 fans or more this year.