As we are just days away from the start of spring training when the Pitchers and Catchers are to report, that is not the big news. The big news of the day is that there is now a 2nd mascot of our beloved Rays. DJ kitty will now prowl around the trop. DJ Kitty has become popular amongst the fans in attendance as his image is displayed on the jumbotron to hype the fans during the game. Leave it to the Rays to think outside the box and use a hip hop cat with a gold cowbell around his neck and a backwards ball cap to represent the team. While we are mentioning mascots; What the hell is Raymond?
Game Two of Doubleheader:
Rays at Twins – 8 – Target Field – TV: Sun Sports – Radio: 970 WFLA
Starting Pitchers: Jeff Niemann (0-3, 7.08) vs. Anthony Swarzak (0-0, 0.00)
E. Johnson ss
Game One of Doubleheader:
Rays at Twins – 1 – Target Field – TV: Sun Sports – Radio: 620 WDAE
Starting Pitchers: Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.32) vs. Nick Blackburn (1-3, 4.01)
The first five Tampa Bay batters reached on Wednesday night as the Rays jumped in front early and buried the Minnesota Twins at a wet and snowy Target Field. Four runs scored in the first and three in the fourth – allowing the Rays to cruise to an 8-2 rout in front of an announced 36,000-plus.
Sam Fuld led off the game with a double, Johnny Damon singled, B.J. Upton doubled, and then Ben Zobrist tripled in that order as Twins starter Francisco Liriano struggled through a 38-pitch first inning. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rick Anderson, Liriano gave up another single to Sean Rodriguez before finally striking out Felipe Lopez and Kelly Shoppach back-to-back. Dan Johnson walked with two outs, but Reid Brignac grounded out to end the inning.
After Johnson singled in the top of the fourth, Liriano finished his night by loading the bases on back-to-back walks. His replacement, Eric Hacker, stumbled through the bases-loaded jam – walking in two runs and then allowing a RBI sac-fly to Zobrist.
Minnesota picked up their first run in bottom of the third on an RBI single by Jason Kubel and their seventh inning run came as a result of a sac-fly from Alexi Casilla that scored Luke Hughes. The Rays logged their final run in the seventh when Rodriguez doubled and then scored on a Felipe Lopez single.
Tossing 107 pitches, Wade Davis worked 6 2/3 and allowed both Minnesota runs on seven hits but kept the Twins’ lineup in check on the way to picking up his third win of the year. Liriano lasted just three innings for the Twins on 83 pitches (seven runs, six hits). Overall, Minnesota pitching surrendered nine walks to the Rays.
Andy Sonnanstine made his first appearance out of the bullpen since April 10 and picked up the final three outs in the ninth for Tampa Bay.
On a side note: Johnny Damon (1-for-4, two RBI’s, and a run scored) extended his hitting streak to 14 games.