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Rays Add 5 Runs In The 9th, Win First Game Of The 2011 Season

In the Rays first game without the now-retired Manny Ramirez, Tampa Bay found itself some late magic. After James Shields struggled with his command, going into the 7th inning, but allowing 5 runs and 3 homers, the Rays found themselves again climbing back from a deficit.

Though the Rays started the season 0-6, the pitching had never been particularly bad. Instead, the pitcher kept the games close, only to see the Rays score only 1 run in 5 out of those first 6 games. Though they scored only 8 runs all season, the Rays found a way to score 9 times tonight, picking up the struggling pitching.

John Danks did an admirable job stiffing the Rays offense early, but he ran into trouble in the 6th inning and could not find an out in the 7th inning, leaving with a total of 4 runs on his tab. The Rays were able to close the deficit to 5-4, but a rough outing from Cesar Ramos, in which he allowed a 2-run single to Mark Teahen, appeared to put the game out of reach for the struggling Rays.

Instead of finishing the top of the 9th quickly, however, Matt Thornton found himself out of luck as two consecutive errors from Alexei Ramirez (though Paul Konerko could equally be faulted for a bad scoop) and Jaun Pierre plated a Rays run and left two men on for Dan Johnson.

Johnson then proceeded to hit the first pitch into the right field bleachers and present the Rays with their first lead of the night.

In total, the Rays offense hit two home runs and a triple, scoring a season high 9 runs.

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