Five Run Sixth Keys Rays to Victory on Throwback Night

By Unknown author

One of the frustrations that the Rays have experienced at home this year is the inability to get an early lead. They have a lot of trouble scoring in the first few innings at Tropicana Field. Ironically, one of the few games that they have grabbed a big early lead was a game they lost. On May 1, Alex Cobb made his Major League debut against the Angels and the Rays jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. They lost 6-5. Today, they had another five run inning, this time in the sixth and it was enough for the victory.

The Rays were wearing the throwback uniform of the 1951 Tampa Smokers and the Cardinals were wearing their 1953 uniforms. All players had their pants pulled up and the Rays/Smokers players had striped socks. Oftentimes when teams wear retro uniforms, they will keep their same helmets. The Cardinals did, but the Rays had entirely new ones.

Jeff Neimann started tonight and pieced together six plus solid innings, scattering nine hits and two walks, but only allowing a one run on a Lance Berkman homer in the fourth.

Kyle McClellan was scattering hits of his own and had a 1-0 lead, but the Rays were finally able to take advantage in the sixth. With two out, they loaded the bases. McClellan fell behind Casey Kotchman who cleared the bases with a double down the right field line. Justin Ruggiano followed with a long home run to left center to give the Rays a 5-1 lead.

After the starters were out, both managers decided to play with match-ups which stretched this game past the three hour mark. Joe Maddon used five relievers to get the last 12 outs of the game. Similarly, Tony LaRussa used four relievers. The important thing was that neither bullpen allowed a run.

Player of the Game: Johnny Damon. He passed Ted Williams on the All-Time hit list with his first hit. He collected three more as he went four for four.

W: Jeff Niemann (3-4) 5.05 ERA

L: Kyle McClellan (6-5) 4.27 ERA