Hanigan Hammers Rays

By on June 29, 2011

St. Petersburg, Fl. (RSEN) –Just a little over fourteen hours after Evan Longoria’s walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night off Cincinnati reliever Logan Ondrusek, James Shields took the hill for the Tampa Bay Rays.   Shields (8-4, 2.29) against righty Edinson Volquez (4-3, 5.77) in the matinee rubber match in the three game inter-league series. 

Both pitchers were cruising along until Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, in the fourth with two down, would belt his second homerun of the year.   First baseman Joey Votto and third baseman Scott Rolen would lead-off the inning with back to back singles.  James Shields would hold tightly by striking out right fielder Jay Bruce then DH Johnny Gomes.  That is when Hanigan’s shot would stick it right to the Ray’s heart.   A 3-1 pitch that left no doubt as it traveled through the still Tropicana Field air. 3-0 Reds, which seemed like a 10-0 lead the way the Rays have been swinging the lumber at home of late.

It was Edinson Volquez that was looking like the pitcher with the 2.29 ERA.   Entering the Rays 5th with a no-no under his belt the .298 hitting Casey Kotchman would bleed a single down the third base line past the out-stretched glove of Reds third baseman Scott Rolen.  Kotchman’s teammates would leave him stranded as BJ Upton flew out and Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach would both K.

The bottom of the sixth opened  in exciting fashion after an Elliot Johnson strike-out.  Johnny Damon would single tying Ted Williams on the MLB all-time hit list.   Then, Ben Zobrist draws a free pass.  With Rays on first and second Evan Longoria lofts a double with eyes that would drop about a foot inside the right field line.  The Rays hang one as Damon scores easily.  Next batter Matt Joyce  and for the second time in three games in the exact base path spot just around second, Evan Longoria is doubled off second when Brandon Phillips snares a line drive off the lumber of Joyce.  Phillips simply hit SS Paul Janish with a strike as he strided across second with Longoria sliding hopelessly back too late.  Rally killer number two in this series.  (game one Evan past teammate Ben Zobrist on the bases.)

In the seventh Shields would get into trouble issuing a lead off free pass to Johnny Gomes and then another freebie to that home run machine Ryan Hanigan.   First and second sacks occupied and nobody out.   Center fielder Drew Stubbs would drop a sac bunt pushing Gomes to third and forcing out Hanigan at second.    With Red runners at the corners James Big Game would notch a huge strikeout of the nine-hole hitter SS Paul Janish.   Fred Lewis would then single to plate Gomes.  The speedy Stubbs, who got a great jump off first, did not hesitate as he raced for third.  BJ Upton makes a horrible decision to throw to third allowing Lewis to take second.  Moot, as Brandon Phillips bounced out to Evan Longoria.    4-0 Reds.

After stretch time, BJ Upton drives a solo shot to deep right center to bring the Rays within one of the Big Red Machine, 4-3.  The homer would chase starter Volquez and bring in righty Logan Ondrusek. Ondrusek was the big loser last night as he served up the Longoria walk-off shot.  

Ondrusek would get the job done today facing all three batters faced.  Then giving way in the in eight to lefty Bill Bray who would complete his assignment getting the two Rays he faced.  

Closer Francisco Cordero notched his sixteenth save pitching the ninth only giving up a Joyce single.

The Rays bats continue to struggle managing only five hits. As for James Shields he pitched well scattering seven Reds hits but the one big mistake to Hanigan was enough to give him his fifth L of the season dropping him to (8-5).

The Rays have tomorrow off and get ready to host the St. Louis Cardinals as the inter-league home-stand continues with the birds in for three.  “It’s very big to sit at home and not have to go anywhere.”  Said Joe Maddon after the game.

On a side note to the game, I spent a couple innings visiting among the fans and ran into Dave Bonilla who made the drive from Altamonte Springs.  Bonilla a life-long Mets (no relation to Bobby) and this would be the first time in a big league park inn twenty years.  There were two things he noticed upon entering the Trop.  He was waiting for an usher to walk him to his seat.  Bonilla said, “I was disappointed; I remember going to see the Mets with my Dad and the usher would walk you to the seat…”and I said yeah, wipe it off.  He said, “Yes, wipe it off for you.”  Bonilla also added the signage directing fans to the escalator could be clearer.  Once in his seat he loved the view and commented, “I really like being inside, out of the heat.”  He was seated in section 122, row JJ, which is the last row before the walkway. Bonilla drove in from Altamonte Springs with some friends and said the tickets were given to him from the company he works for.

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