Saturday, 17 May 2008

"He was Mr Everything tonight"

So said Joe Maddon. "It was the Sonny show. Thats all it was."

I don't think he could have summed up last night's game any better.

Tampa Bay Rays 3 - St Louis Cardinals 1

Because Andy Sonnanstine was completely outstanding last night. And not only when on the mound.

That's where I'll start though, and 8 innings pitched, allowing 8 hits, no walks, striking out 4, and giving up just a single run, on a homer for Chris Duncan in the eighth, is a very impressive outing by anyone's standards. Add to that the fact that he stopped Albert Pujols streak of 42 consecutive games getting on base, and its clear to see how good he was. His control was absolutely top quality - 76 out of his 98 pitches were strikes.

Then, there was the fielding. Not so much here admittedly, but he did make one excellent play moving off the mound to his left, saving an almost certain base hit.

I mentioned yesterday how he had done at the plate in interleague last year. Well, he didn't disappoint last night. He singled in his first time up, moved to second on a wild pitch (showing he can run the bases too, with a nice slide) and came round to score. He singled his second time up as well, and on his third trip to the plate put down a perfect 2-strike bunt. In fact, so good was he yesterday, that I would imagine he will be disappointed to have struck out on his fourth trip to the plate.

And, while Sonnanstine virtually did everything needed to win the game on his own, he did get plenty of help from his teammates - both in the field and at the plate, as well as from Troy Percival who pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save of the year.

A 12-hit day marks one of the better recent offensive efforts, but unusually we didn't do such a great job of stringing them together. The exception was the third, where following Sonny's lead-off single, Aki Iwamura, Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena all followed suit, the latter two picking up RBIs. The Rays added a third run in the fourth, Dioner Navarro walking and, following Sonny's second single, coming round to score on another single from Aki. Aki went 3-5, and joining him and Sonnanstine with multi-hit days were Jason Bartlett and Evan Longoria - both of whom flashed some nice leather on the left hand side of the infield.

With Boston being rained out, that win moves us a game and a half clear at the top of the AL East, and 8 games above .500 at 25-17. Trying to improve that record further for the Rays this afternoon will be Matt Garza, fresh off his best start so far for Tampa Bay.

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