Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays beat Philadelphia Phillies 10-4

ST. PETERSBURG — The way Andy Sonnanstine began Thursday's game, allowing four runs in the first inning, it looked as if the Rays' decision on creating space in the rotation was going to be an easy one.

But the way Sonnanstine pitched over the next four-plus innings of the 10-4 victory, allowing only one hit, made what the Rays already considered a difficult decision even more arduous.

"Absolutely," manager Joe Maddon said. "It does. It makes it tougher."

Scott Kazmir is coming back, and more likely to start Saturday than Sunday, so the Rays have to make room for him, as well as reliever Chad Bradford. Team officials have spent days discussing a series of inter-related moves and complex scenarios and were talking again after the game, with an announcement due today.

But there was nothing complicated about how the Rays won their second straight over the Phillies in the World Series rematch, improving to a season-high-matching four games over .500, at 39-35, before a slightly larger crowd of 20,141.

They roared out of the 4-0 hole with 10 runs and 15 hits, including three by Willy Aybar, who started in place of hamstrung Evan Longoria, and two more by Pat Burrell against his ex-mates, aided by poor Phillies pitching and a baserunning blunder.

There was a bit of history on the field, as Jason Bartlett extended his hitting streak to a team-record 19 games, breaking a tie with original Ray Quinton McCracken.

There was a love story, as Ben Zobrist applauded wife Julianna's stirring pregame rendition of the anthem then showed his appreciation with a two-run homer, his 16th. "It was a good little combo right there," Ben said. "It was fun watching her."

And there were the elements of an ongoing mystery, as Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann (scheduled to start Saturday) or David Price (slated for Sunday) will be dropped from the rotation.

The options are sending Sonnanstine or Price to Triple A, or moving Sonnanstine or Niemann (who is out of options and can't be sent down without being exposed to waivers) to the bullpen. To accommodate an extra reliever, they could drop a position player (Joe Dillon?) and go with 13 pitchers.

Sonnanstine knew the scenario going into the game and acknowledged it took him a while to get his control as he struggled through the four-run, five-hit, eight-batter 27-pitch first inning.

But once he got it, he was impressive, retiring 13 of 16, allowing only one hit, a walk and a hit batter in 70 pitches over 41/3 innings. He struck out a season-high-matching seven and didn't allow a homer for the first time in nine starts.

Still, he is 6-7 despite the best run support in the majors (8.16 runs per nine innings) and a 6.61 ERA that is highest of all regular starters in either league.

Maddon, who has championed Sonnanstine's cause, liked what he saw.

"I was very impressed with the way he handled the whole moment," Maddon said. "I really expected him to pitch well, and after he got by the first inning, I wasn't surprised at all there were a bunch of zeroes after the four."

Asked what he showed his bosses, Sonnanstine pondered for a moment. "That's a good question," he said. "I felt like I rebounded well and battled. I'm going to go out there and do the best I can every time."

Enough to make it a tough decision?

"I'm not sure," he said. "That's probably a question for them."

The answer is, finally, forthcoming.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays beat Philadelphia Phillies 10-4 06/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 2:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the funk they are in right now.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) after being doubled off first on the liner by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) in to end the seventh inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, July 24, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — with a season-high seven-plus innings. It wasn't only that he got deep into the game but how, using his high-octane fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC

    College

    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.