Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Once again, Rays' Sonnanstine just wins

CHICAGO — Rays right-hander Andy Sonnanstine is not known for overpowering stuff.

He won't light up a radar gun. He won't wow the scouts.

But there's one thing manager Joe Maddon has always pointed out:

"Sonny has always been a winner."

Sonnanstine may not have claimed victory in his previous seven starts, before Monday's Game 4 of the American League Division Series. But Maddon said Sonnanstine was pitching as well as he had throughout his breakout season, and the "W" would soon come.

Sonnanstine picked the perfect night to do just that. In the biggest start of his career, he delivered 52/3 strong innings, giving up just two runs on three hits and punching the Rays' ticket to the American League Championship Series with his first win since Aug. 18.

To thank Sonnanstine, his teammates, calling him everything from "courageous" to "amazing," poured champagne all over his head in the wet-and-wild Rays clubhouse.

"He's just fearless," pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "And you knew in a game that we had to have, that he was going to come up pretty big."

After all, that's what Sonnanstine did all year. He has won matchups with some of the best pitchers in the game — from the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano to the Blue Jays' A.J. Burnett, to Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Royals' Zack Greinke. In two of the Rays' biggest wins in September, both against the Red Sox, Sonnanstine didn't get the decision but gave up zero earned runs in 13 innings. Both times, he was matched up against Josh Beckett.

Quipped Hickey: "Or I should say Josh Beckett was matched up against Sonnanstine."

"He could have easily won 17 or 18 ballgames," Hickey said. "He continues to come at guys and (Monday) was a very, very impressive outing to me."

The former 13th-round pick out of Kent State had to fight all season. In the spring, he battled for the final spot in the rotation. And even after racking up 13 regular-season wins, he had to battle to keep it.

"He's been surprising everybody all year," shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "Last night, I was watching on ESPN; they were doubting him. And he showed them tonight. He doesn't have great stuff but he knows how to pitch. And sometimes, that means more than what you've got."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Once again, Rays' Sonnanstine just wins 10/06/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 8:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.