Catching Up With the Rays

The Rays have been a roll lately. Srsly. They pulled out a couple squeakers and then just flat-out made it RAIN on their rival Reds. Here’s how it went:

Game 1 vs. Nats – Sonnanstine vs. Hill. My #5 starter continues to impress moving to 3-1 on the year with 7.2 respectable innings where he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits. The Hairys got a nice lead thanks to a big 2nd inning where Pena led off with a solo (of course) bomb. That is the FOURTH straight game in which Pena has gone deep. So awesome. Then with 2 outs, Delmon Young homers and Iwamura and Upton both get infield singles for a 4-0 lead. Wigginton solo shot makes it 5-0 where it stays until the 7th when the Nats work a serious 2-out rally. Walk, double, walk, single, single makes it 5-4 and scary all of a sudden. Scary except for the fact that I’ve got Joba. Here’s how he wrapped this game up:
Chamberlain now pitching
5-4 2 — 22 Fick struck out (CBCBFC)
************** Bottom of the 9th inning, Nationals batting
Navarro now playing catcher
5-4 0 — 12 Schneider struck out (BSFS)
5-4 1 — 12 Lopez struck out (BCFS)
5-4 2 — 22 Kearns struck out (SBCBFFFS)

That’s 4 straight K’s, holmes. SICK.

Game 2 vs. Rangers – Carmona fails to impress AGAIN. He puts 15 men on base in 6.1 innings and the Hairys are in serious trouble in the 7th. The Rangers tie the game and still have men on 2nd and 3rd with one out when I bring Joba in to stop the bleeding. I get REAL lucky as he throws a wild pitch but slow of foot Teixeira gets tagged out trying to score. I escape that jam with the tie intact but then the unthinkable – Sammy Sosa, who hits for .220 vs R goes yard off Joba in the 8th and I’m down 5-4. WHAT??!!?? That did not just happen. My squad refuses to let Joba take the loss, though as I load the bases in the 9th and Aki comes through with a GW single. RAD.

Games 3 & 4 vs the Reds. Holy crap. I throw up some serious football scores against my rival and just ROLL. I get 35 runs in 2 games on 39 hits (7 of which were bombs). Lost in this is the disturbing fact that Shields got torched in Game 1. I was down 8-2 at one point. Yikes. Anyway, those games were really fun – check the boxscores if you don’t believe me.

Cards clinch as they beat Marlins, Royals

We beat Marlins 6-3 as we jumped out to an early lead – I’m seriously not used to playing with a lead, but we held it – got another 18 runners on base, to keep that sweet trend going. Looper pitched well enough to give us the win but was pulled early for super-reliever Johnson, who pitched 3.1 strong shutout innings to keep our lead. They threatened mean in the 9th, but Cabrera and Ross couldn’t drive guys home. I win.

Royals up next. I had a depleted staff. Escobar got pounded early. We’re down 3-1 in the 2nd. We scored all of our runs in the 4th, still down 3, as Eckstein walked and scored on an Utley triple, then Pujols groundouted him in, then Edmonds homered, then with the score tied… this…

here’s Rick Ankiel again
bounced out his last time up
the 1-0 offering
this ball is well hit to center
DeJesus goes back
back
but he won’t get it
DeJesus chases it down
Ankiel rounds third
trying to score
here’s the throw
safe!
an inside the park homerun!

That ruled. Can’t remember the last time that happened. But it gave us a 1-run lead, and neither team scored the rest of the way, as Percibal got the final out with the tying run on 2nd. 4-3 Cards.

21st win. With the Nationals losing nightly, and with theirs and the Giants 20th losses, I clinched anticlimatically. All 3 of us in our division were at 15-14 with 10 games to go, and both of those guys laid a 4-6 egg from that point on, mostly because the played St. Louis a lot. SO good to be back in the playoffs, even though I’ll have to face a tough Texas team and pitching staff that took all 3 games from me during the season.