Rays Master Masterson

September 17, 2008 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

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The Rays pulled off a huge win to put themselves back into sole possession of first place in the AL East, a full game ahead of Boston. The Rays also dropped their magic number to reach the playoffs to 5 games.

The Rays had a hard time figuring out Boston starter Josh Beckett but Andy Sonnanstine and the Rays bullpen kept the Rays in the game by matching Beckett’s outing. Beckett never made a mistake, not even on the homerun by Carlos Pena. Pena’s homer came on a curveball on the outside corner and he just took it the other way and put a nice level swing on it. Not a mistake by Beckett but a great piece of hitting by Pena.

Sonnanstine pitched 6 brilliant innings allowing one unearned run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Grant Balfour came in and pitched a perfect 1.1 innigs before J.P. Howell did his job. Dan Wheeler then came in with two outs and two men on and got the strikeout to end the 9th. Boston then brought rookie Justin Masterson in the bottom of the 9th with a 1-1 tie. Since the beginning of August Masterson has pitched 19.1 innigs in relief and only allowed 3 earned runs, 14 hits while striking out 18 (he has walked 10 men though). He has been very tough. Masterson has been masterful.

The Rays didn’t seem to care. Jason Bartlett led off with a blood single in between the firstbaseman and rightfielder which was followed by a controversial walk to Pena. Evan Longoria proceeded to strike out. Cliff Floyd walked up to the plate and fell behind in the count before getting a gift when he was hit on his shin guard by a pitch. Bases were now loaded for Dioner Navarro. Masterson couldn’t locate his pitches as he fell behind 2-0 then got a gift strike that was almost in the right handed hitter’s side of the batter’s box. Navarro then swung at a sinker that he said “fooled” him. Navarro stayed in their and put good wood on a ball to deep center that bounced over the wall for a game winning RBI single. The Rays mastered Masterson.

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