Interstate 75 Jive: Rays Take Round One

I’ve just finished watching the latest Rays victory, a 7–3 trouncing of the in–state rival Florida Marlins at Tropicana Field.  Andy Sonnanstine picked up his seventh victory of the season as the offense picked him up early and often after going down 2–0 in the first inning.  It was an aggressive running night for the Rays that, for the most part, worked out.  Cliff Floyd stole his first base since July 14, 2006, when he was with the Mets.  He had been through two teams (he was a 2007 Cub) between steals.  But it paid off huge, as he advanced to third base on a throwing error and later scored.  Jason Bartlett stole two bases in a game for the third time this season, reaching a total of 14.  He had three hits and a sacrifice fly, marking his best offensive output since coming to Tampa Bay.  Akinori Iwamura, his double play partner in crime, had two hits and an amazing diving stop and throw reminiscent of Ozzie Smith.  Eric Hinske kept it going with a big two–RBI night. Even with Carl Crawford out suspended, they hit and ran effectively enough to put up a seven spot against inexperienced pitchers.  To top it all off, with Al Reyes going to the disabled list today (shoulder injury), Troy Percival was reactivated for this series.  And the shutdown closer made it count, striking out Dan Uggla on three pitches, then retiring Luis Gonzalez on strikes before Cody Ross grounded out to end it.  Congratulations Troy and the Rays for getting eight of the starting nine on base and killing Marlin momentum early.

In other news… Jonathan Papelbon is a dillweed.  That is all.

The series continues tomorrow on Latino night, which unfortunately will not be televised.  Sunday’s game will only be seen with Marlins coverage and commentary, so I’ll have to sit through that for three long hours or so.  Hopefully there is no “His name is DAN… UGGLA!” in that one.  There certainly wasn’t tonight.  The Red Sox lost to the Reds — yes, the Cincinnati Reds — meaning that the Rays gain one big game in the divisional standings.  There’s a reason to celebrate.  Until next time, go Rays.

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