In a pinch, Rays tied record
UPDATE, 3:11: One more note on the pinch-hit accomplishments: According to baseball-reference. com data going back to 1950, the Rays are the first team to have five pinch-hitters reach base safely via hit or walk in one inning. The Giants had five reach in a nine-run ninth inning of a May 5, 1958 game against Pittsburgh, but one reached on an error.
DEVELOPING: Lost in the length of Monday's game, the Rays tied a major-league record by using six pinch-hitters in an inning.
It had been done just eight times before, and six of those, as you'd expect, came in September when there are extra bodies available due to the expanded rosters.
Manager Joe Maddon did so for a reason Monday, as the Rays were getting blown out so he wanted to rest his regulars but also to keep his bench players fresh: "They all looked good up there. We like our depth, we like our bench. I want to keep them sharp, I've got to get them out there. Hopefully as we proceed and hopefully make the playoffs we're going to have to make a lot of tough decisions regarding who those 25 people are going to be, so these guys have got to play. If they're going to contribute the rest of this month they just can't sit on the bench.''
The inning unfolded like this, with the Rays down 11-2 at the time
Dan Johnson pinch-hit for Ben Zobrist, singled
Kelly Shoppach flied out to center
Matt Joyce pinch-hit for B.J. Upton, singled
Willy Aybar pinch-hit for Jason Bartlett, singled
Brad Hawpe pinch-hit for Carl Crawford, walked, forcing in a run
Desmond Jennings pinch-hit for Evan Longoria, walked, forcing in a run
Carlos Pena walked, forcing in a run
Reid Brignac pinch-hit for Sean Rodriguez, fouled out
Rocco Baldelli flied out to left.
Maddon said it wasn't his most creative such move, having used five pinch-hitters - in consecutive at-bats - in a June 18, 2006 game in Philadelphia.
The Rays also tied a team record on Monday with the three pinch hits in an inning.
They'd done that only once before, on Sept. 23. 2008 when Rocco Baldelli, Jason Bartlett and Dioner Navarro all came through in the eighth inning of the second game of a doubleheader with Baltimore.
Here's the list of teams that used six pinch-hitters in an inning, from the Elias record book:
Date Team Opp. Inn
9-6-10 Rays R.Sox 7
9-4-07 M’s Yanks 8
9-14-02 Dodgers Rockies 6
9-21-93 Braves Expos 7
9-16-86 Padres Giants 9
9-5-71 Tigers Yanks 7
5-31-70 Expos Reds 9
9-9-66 Royals Tigers 9
5-5-58 Giants Pirates 9
In Rays-related news, former 2B Akinori Iwamura was designated for assignment by the Pirates after a disappointing season that included a long stay in the minors. Speculation in Pittsburgh is that Iwamura is headed back to Japan.