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Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Johnny Damon first to hit walkoffs for five teams; Kelly Shoppach quips on run production

Rays vs. Twins

When/where: 4:10 today; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Probable starters

Rays

RH Jeff Niemann (0-2, 8.31)

Twins

RH Scott Baker (0-2, 6.55)

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

Watch for …

Standing tall: Niemann's command has been off in his two starts, and the Rays want him to throw less hard to see if it helps. He is 2-0 with a 3.05 ERA in three starts against the Twins.

Baker's act: Baker has already allowed four homers in two starts, ahead of the past two seasons when he gave up 28 and 23. He is 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA in six games against the Rays.

Key matchups:

Rays vs. Baker

Johnny Damon4-for-14

Matt Joyce 1-for-11, HR

Ben Zobrist 2-for-11

Twins vs. Niemann

Jason Kubel 0-for-9

Denard Span 4-for-11

Delmon Young 3-for-8, HR

On deck

Sunday: vs Twins, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 4.09); Twins — Brian Duensing (0-0, 4.15)

Monday: vs. White Sox, 6:40, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (1-2, 3.92); Sox — Edwin Jackson (2-0, 2.89)

Tuesday: vs. White Sox, 6:40, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (0-1, 3.98); Sox — John Danks (0-1, 3.15)

Damon's walkoff list

Date Team Opp. Pitcher

4/14/11 TB Twins Capps

7/6/10 Det. Orioles D. Hernandez

5/1/10 Det. Angels S. Shields

5/17/09 NYY Twins J. Crain

8/26/01 Bos. Angels S. Shields

4/10/00 K.C. Twins L. Hawkins

Quote of the day

"We have more runs in them."

Kelly Shoppach, Rays catcher, when asked what was different from the team's last four wins to its first six losses

Damon's record of the day

LF/DH Johnny Damon didn't just win Thursday's game with his blast in the 10th, he made history, becoming the first player to hit walkoff homers for five teams (twice for Detroit). His secret? "I don't know," he said. "There's been plenty of times I've come up in that situation and failed. Just fortunately for me I've been able to do it a number of times." Six players share the all-time lead with 12, according to David Vincent of the Society for American Baseball Research, including Minnesota's Jim Thome. Damon is tied with 43 others.

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Johnny Damon first to hit walkoffs for five teams; Kelly Shoppach quips on run production 04/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:21am]
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