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Zobrist, Ramirez, Longoria, Shoppach Homer

The Rays have beaten the Red Sox again in their second match up of the spring, thanks to a monster four home runs by Kelly Shoppach, Evan Longoria, Manny Ramirez and Ben Zobrist.

Long reliever Andy Sonnanstine pitched 4.1 innings for the Rays. He game up 3 runs on 4 hits, with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. Not the greatest start, but there were moments to admire. Sonny pitched the second inning into a jam with two walks and none out, but follow with a strikeout and a double play.

The second inning would also be when the bats came alive. After a Matt Joyce double, Kelly Shoppach homered to bring in the first points of the game. Elliot Johnson then took a walk, and Ben Zobrist brought him home in the same fashion. The Rays made contact with every pitch in the strike zone over seven at bats in the second. 

Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez then hit back to back home runs to start the third. Rays up 6-0.

Sonnanstine's worst moment came in the fifth. With one out he gave up a single, hit the next batter, and then another single to put the bases loaded. Sonny could not fight out of this jam. He walked Carl Crawford and the Red Sox had their first run of the game. Maddon then pulled Sonny and put in the experienced Kyle Farnsworth... who also walked the next batter. 

BUT the Farns then K'd the next two, each with three swinging strikes - which is fantastic work. Too bad the third strike on SS Jed Lowrie was a wild pitch, as the Sox were able to score another run on the advance, 6-3.

The Rays would lock it down in the eighth. Sam Fuld walked on one out, then flashed his speed stealing second on what looked like a hit-and-run. Jose Lobaton didn't make contact then, but he would on the second pitch with a line drive single to center. The speedy Fuld found his way home and the Rays clinched the victory 7-3.

Notes:

  • Ben Zobrist made his second appearance at first base this spring, starting the game with a double as the lead off hitter. 
  • Elliot Johnson had a great dive at SS to knock down J.D. Drew's shot up the middle, then stepped on second base and threw to first to complete the double play. 
  • E Johnson, Fuld, Ruggiano, and Shoppach (!) each had a steal.
  • Carl Crawford had a diving catch in shallow left on a Jose Lobaton blooper to end the sixth.
  • Apparent by the score and four homers, the Rays faced a knuckleball pitcher today. Might as well been playing softball. Dear Red Sox, please drop Dice-K and put Wakefield in the rotation!

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