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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Elliot Johnson plays catch with fan before game

AL East

Team W L Pct. GB

New York 8863 .577—

Baltimore85 64 .5701

Tampa Bay 8070 .5336½

Boston 68 83.45019

Toronto 66 82.44619½

AL race for wild cards

Team W L Pct. GB

Baltimore 85 64 .570—

Oakland 8564 .570—

Los Angeles 81 69.54041/2

Tampa Bay 80 70 .533 51/2

Detroit7970 .5306

Top two wild cards make postseason; GB is games behind second wild card

Rays vs. Blue Jays

When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

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

Tickets: Tickets: $12-$255, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

Promotion: Desmond Jennings T-shirt to first 10,000 fans.

Probable pitchers:

Rays: RH James Shields (14-9, 3.77)

Blue Jays: RH Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42)

On Shields: Coming off a loss at New York on Saturday, in which he allowed costly back-to-back homers. Is 6-2, 2.25 with a .162 opponents average in past nine starts. Is 10-5, 3.40 in 20 start vs. Jays, 6-1 in his past nine.

On Villanueva: Only win in his past nine starts was Aug. 30 vs. Rays; threw six shutout innings. Otherwise, 0-5, 4.44 with 12 homers allowed. Overall is 1-2, 8.42 in eight games vs. Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Villanueva

Jeff Keppinger 7-for-16

Luke Scott 4-for-13 HR

Ben Zobrist 4-for-8 3 HR

Jays vs. Shields

E. Encarnacion 4-for-20 HR

Adam Lind 12-for-43 5 HR

Jeff Mathis 2-for-17 7 K

On deck

Saturday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Matt Moore (10-11, 3.88); Blue Jays — Brandon Morrow (8-6, 2.98)

Sunday: vs. Blue Jays, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — Alex Cobb (9-9, 4.27), Blue Jays — TBA

Elliot's parking lot adventure

Fond of Twitter and originality, infielder Elliot Johnson (@elliotjohnson9) decided to take up a fan on his invitation and went to the Trop parking lot before Wednesday's game to play catch and visit. Chris Bell and his buddies were surprised when Johnson, in uniform pants and a workout shirt, showed up and stuck around 10-15 minutes. "They were good dudes," Johnson said. "It was a good time. Why not?" Bell, who posted a video on his @ChrisBellTB Twitter account, said: "EJ is such a great guy. Couldn't have been nicer. It was a great experience."

Tampa Bay Rays: Elliot Johnson plays catch with fan before game 09/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 21, 2012 1:03am]
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