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Rays Vs. Twins: Big First Inning Pushes Tampa Bay To Victory

Sam Fuld got things started on Wednesday night, hitting a towering double off the right field wall in his first at bat. The inning then quickly transitioned to runs on the board: Johnny Damon singled, pushing his hit streak to 14 games, then B.J. Upton doubled down the left field line, and Ben Zobrist crushed a 2-run triple to center field, coming home on a subsequent single from Sean Rodriguez.

All told, the Rays (12-11) collected 4 runs in the top of the first and -- after a shaky bottom half of the inning from Wade Davis -- began cruising into victory and their first winning record of the season. Getting contributions from all over the lineup, the Rays were able to put together a pleasant little blowout, beating the Minnesota Twins (9-13) by a score of 8-2.

Notes from the game:

  • Wade Davis (3-2) worked out of some minor trouble tonight. Playing with a lead from the first frame, he went 6.2 innings, striking out 5, but needed some strong defense and well-timed double plays -- especially in the first.
  • Sam Fuld, after going 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts on Sunday, turned in an almost completely opposite performance, going 1 for 2 while walking 3 times and scoring 2 runs.
  • Dan Johnson appears to be regaining his once-missing patience, going 1 for 2 today with 2 walks. Rays manager Joe Maddon fully expects Johnson to return to his patient and powerful 2010 form, and today marks a step in that direction as he worked several deep counts and managed some long at bats.
  • Sean Rodriguez also had a good day at the plate today, going 2 for 4 with a double, a steal, and a walk. Most importantly, he got his double and walk off a right-handed pitcher (Eric Hacker).
  • B.J. Upton showed off his effortless range, snaring a fly ball to deep center field in the fifth inning.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.