Here at Rays Colored Glasses, you know we love looking back at Tampa Bay Rays history. Today we look back 19 years ago on this date, June 11th, 2002. On that date, Jared Sandberg accomplished something only 16 American League players had done, at the time.
Let’s set the scene, shall we? The first-ever series between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers started on June 10th, 2002 at Tropicana Field. The Dodgers took game one of the series 10-5. However, game two was when history was made.
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The Devil Rays got off to a quick 1-0 lead when Randy Winn hit a leadoff solo home run off Dodgers starter Omar Daal. The Dodgers answered back with a Paul Lo Duca two-RBI double in the top of the third. Aubrey Huff tied it up with a sac fly in the bottom of the third, and the game stayed tied 2-2 until the fifth.
Jared Sandberg leads off the fifth for the Devil Rays
And he wasted no time, on the first pitch he saw, Sandberg cranked a monster home run, just staying fair down the left-field line. The ball landed well over the outfield seats in left, where the Left Field Ledge is today. A monster shot giving the Devil Rays a 3-2 lead.
However, the pitching change didn’t help much. New Dodgers pitcher Giovanni Carrara gave up an RBI single to Russ Johnson, stretching the Rays lead to 7-2, with Sandberg coming up to the plate for the second time in the inning, with two runners on.
Jared Sandberg does it again
Now, I’ve tried my best to add some drama to a story you likely already know. But if you don’t, all the better.
For the second time in the inning, Jared Sandberg saw one pitch in his at-bat. And on that pitch, he sent another souvenir into the seats, marking his second home run of the inning, only the 16th player in American League history to achieve the feat. That blast gave the Devil Rays an 11-2 lead, and they never looked back.
The Devil Rays would go on to win by that score, their first victory in franchise history over the Dodgers.
Jared Sandberg’s place in history
Since Sandberg, 21 players have hit multiple home runs in one inning, including Nomar Garciaparra, who did it on July 23rd, 2002 against the Devil Rays, and Julio Lugo, who did it on July 22nd, 2006 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Anytime someone hits two home runs in one inning is pretty special, but we think the fact Jared only saw two pitches in the inning, takes the cake. Imagine how locked in you have to be, to do that. Pretty crazy stuff.