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Tampa Bay Rays tie major-league record by using six pinch-hitters in an inning

BOSTON — Leave it to the Rays to find a way to make history even in Monday's 12-5 loss.

By using six pinch-hitters in the seventh inning, the Rays tied a major-league record. They were the ninth team to use six in an inning, and the first since the Mariners in a September 2007 game against the Yankees.

Making it more noteworthy, three of the substitutes — Dan Johnson, Matt Joyce and Willy Aybar — got hits, tying a team record.

Manager Joe Maddon, though, didn't consider it his most stellar substituting, recalling the June 18, 2006, game at Philadelphia when he used five in consecutive at-bats.

"That's even tougher in a National League game, to do five pinch-hitters and make it work,'' he said. "And that wasn't even September, that was regular season (roster size), so that takes even more imagination.''

MOUND OF EXCITEMENT: LHP David Price has had a great seat in the dugout for some dramatic games at Fenway Park going back to the 2008 AL Championship Series.

Tonight, he'll step on the mound for the first time.

"I've probably seen 15 games in this park and I haven't got to pitch in one, so it's very exciting," Price said. "I haven't thrown here. I haven't even stood on the mound."

The Rays are hoping Price can make it a memorable debut as he seeks his 17th win of the season.

Though he has already thrown a career-high 1722/3 innings (10 more than last season), Price, 25, said he feels strong and ready for the stretch run.

"Body feels good, arms feels good," he said. "Pitching feels great."

As much as Maddon stays away from ranking his starters, he responded to questioning by some national media Monday by saying, "At this point, David is pitching like a No. 1, I'll say that."

And that Price eventually "will be considered or labeled as an ace; there's no doubt in my mind."

ROCCO REACTION: The good feelings from Rocco Baldelli's smashing return to the majors Sunday carried over as Maddon acknowledged that his first-swing homer was the deciding factor in using Baldelli as the DH on Monday, ahead of Aybar and Brad Hawpe.

"I'm really not normally like that, but everything was so close among all the candidates that I chose Rocco,'' Maddon said. "Plus, we're in Boston and he's from Rhode Island, so I thought that's a nice little subplot."

Baldelli welcomed the opportunity, especially in front of his family and friends who make their way to Fenway, but was 0-for-4.

SONNY'S DAY: RHP Andy Sonnanstine officially rejoined the Rays, having been optioned — but not reporting — to Class A Hudson Valley for five days.

Sonnanstine wasn't happy about the situation but understanding of the roster management issues involved, as the Rays wanted to instead add Hawpe by the midnight Aug. 31 deadline for postseason eligibility.

"I felt like I really needed to be a good teammate in that situation, though it was tough," Sonnanstine said.

MINOR MATTERS: Class A Charlotte (80-59) opens Florida State League first-round best-of-three play tonight in Bradenton (Pirates) at 7 at McKechnie Field with LHP Matt Moore on the mound; Game 2 is Wednesday in Port Charlotte, and Game 3, if needed, is Thursday. Stephen Vogt won the league batting title at .345. … Triple-A Durham, which won in 12 innings Monday to finish 88-55, will open the International League first-round best-of-five playoffs Wednesday in Louisville (Reds). … The other two full-season teams missed the playoffs, Double-A Montgomery (72-66) and Class A Bowling Green (61-78).

MISCELLANY: LF Carl Crawford extended his stolen base streak against the Red Sox to 35, last caught Sept. 21, 2005, by RHP Tim Wakefield and last thrown out by a catcher May 20, 2004. … OF Desmond Jennings got his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk. … The Rays are 1-8 in Labor Day games, including last year's doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Fast facts

For starters

David Price has done well with 26 wins in his first 50 starts. Add in his 3.53 ERA and 266 strikeouts, and only seven others have done as well in the past 50 years:

Pitcher Years W ERA SO

Gary Peters, W.Sox 1963-64 30 2.33 272

Vida Blue, A's 1969-72 27 2.01 351

Ron Guidry, Yanks 1975-78 31 2.42 347

F. Valenzuela, LAD 1981-82 27 2.70 303

Dwight Gooden, Mets 1984-85 29 2.27 418

Roger Clemens, R.Sox 1984-86 30 3.31 325

Roy Oswalt, Astros 2001-02 31 2.84 310

David Price, Rays 2008-10 26 3.53 266

Source: Stats, Inc.

Tampa Bay Rays tie major-league record by using six pinch-hitters in an inning 09/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 12:34am]
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