May 20, 2011
A: Florida Marlins
W: Michael Dunn (4-2) 1.80 ERA
L: Joel Peralta (1-3) 3.47 ERA
S: Leo Nunez (16) 2.78 ERA
Many would probably consider the Rays a National League type of team. They have a lot of team speed, play good defense and aren’t afraid to lay down a sacrifice occasionally. The roster is also versatile enough for Joe Maddon to perform double switches without weakening the lineup or the defense too much. In this case though, in their first interleague game of the year, the lack of a designated hitter weakened the Rays’ defense. Maddon elected to put Johnny Damon in left field and put Sam Fuld on the bench.
The Rays jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first when Matt Joyce tripled home two. The Marlins got a run right back when Chris Coghlan flared a ball to left that Fuld no doubt would have caught had he been out there. Damon got a bad jump and then let the ball get behind him. The hit was ruled a double, but Rays’ starter Andy Sonnanstine deserved better. Two groundouts later and it was 2-1.
Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton homered in the fourth to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. That lead held up until the seventh. Matt Joyce got it started with his second triple. He later scored on a Casey Kotchman single.
Other than that, Marlins’ starter Anibal Sanchez was dominant and the Rays had to feel fortunate to even get that many runs off of him. However, they had a chance to score in the eighth off of Michael Dunn. Sean Rodriguez, just into the game on a double switch, doubled to lead off the inning. He never moved, although Johnny Damon hit a drive that came within a foot of giving the Rays a 5-3 lead.
The Marlins would get that lead in the bottom of the eighth. The Marlins put runners on second and third with no one out and scored both runners on sac flies. The second sac fly was a little pop-up that first baseman Casey Kotchman caught, but his momentum took him away from home plate, allowing Logan Morrison to score.
Leo Nunez picked up his sixteenth save of the year as the Rays went down quietly in the ninth.
- B.J. Upton left the game early with a tight butt (not something you could make up).
- J.P. Howell made his season debut with a scoreless inning in the sixth.
Player of the Game: Logan Morrison. He had a 2 for 4 night with a homer and two runs scored.
Tags: Matt Joyce