- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (AP) - Joe Maddon believes his Tampa Bay Rays are talented enough to return to the postseason as long as they remain level-headed.

The manager, who presided over one of the biggest turnarounds in major league history last season, likes what he’s seen so far.

“I’ve said all along … my biggest concern is how we were going to react to success. And to this point, I’m pleased,” Maddon said after Monday night’s 15-5 rout of the New York Yankees served as the perfect ending for an emotional banner-raising ceremony at Tropicana Field.

“Gratitude and humility, I really believe in that. And I think our guys have channeled all the success properly to this point.”

Carlos Pena hit a grand slam and drove in six runs to back the pitching of Scott Kazmir (2-0) and Maddon felt good about the way the team handled all the hoopla surrounding the team’s home opener.

The Rays toasted last year’s improbable run to the World Series by hanging two large blue and white division and league championship banners above the left-field stands during a festive pregame ceremony.

They spent the rest of the night pleasing the sellout crowd of 36,973 by beating up on a division rival that committed more than $400 million to bolster its roster with hopes of regaining supremacy in the AL East.

“This division is going to be really tough,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We didn’t really need a reminder, but it was there.”

The young, confident Rays homered three times, amassed 17 hits and stole four bases. Meanwhile, B.J. Upton was activated from the disabled list and made the defensive play of the night, an over-the-head basket catch on Xavier Nady’s drive to the center field wall in the second inning.

“We showed everything,” Rays outfielder Carl Crawford said. “When we play like that, we’re tough to beat.”

It got so bad for the Yankees that first baseman Nick Swisher pitched a scoreless eighth inning, the first New York position player to take the mound since Wade Boggs used his knuckleball in 1997.

Swisher hadn’t pitched since he was a freshman in high school.

“I had fun with it. When am I ever going to have a chance to do that again? Probably never,” Swisher said. “We know we didn’t play very well. Got to find something to laugh about in that moment. I just happened to be the guy.”

Kazmir (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings, including Swisher’s solo homer in the fourth and Melky Cabrera’s RBI single in the fifth. The left-hander struck out six and walked none.

Wang (0-2) allowed eight runs and six hits in the shortest start of his career. The last three runs charged to the right-hander scored on Pena’s grand slam off Jonathan Albaladejo.

“Whatever could go wrong tonight went wrong,” Girardi said. “It started with starting pitching.”

White Sox 10, Tigers 6

At Detroit, Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko reached 300 career homers with consecutive drives in the second inning and the White Sox won their third straight.

Carlos Quentin went 4-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs and Konerko finished with four hits and three RBIs.

Ramon Santiago hit a three-run homer and Josh Anderson had three RBIs for Detroit, which had won three straight. Zach Miner (1-1) allowed eight runs and nine hits, including three homers, in 3 1-3 innings.

Gavin Floyd (1-1) gave up six runs, walked seven and struck out two in five innings.

Blue Jays 8, Twins 6

At Minneapolis, Travis Snider hit two home runs, including a go-ahead two-run shot off Luis Ayala (1-1) in the eighth inning, to rally Toronto.

Lyle Overbay added a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who had beaten Minnesota 10 straight times since June 28, 2007. Adam Lind, Alex Rios and Scott Rolen each had three hits in a 19-hit attack for Toronto.

Jason Frasor (1-0) worked the seventh inning, and B.J. Ryan pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Orioles 10, Rangers 9

At Arlington, Texas, Aubrey Huff went 4-for-5 with three of Baltimore’s seven RBI singles.

The Orioles went ahead to stay and chased Vicente Padilla (1-1) with five consecutive run-scoring hits in the fourth inning that made it 7-4.

Chris Davis, Michael Young and Andruw Jones all hit their first homers of the season for Texas.

Koji Uehara (2-0), Baltimore’s first Japanese-born player, gave up seven runs while pitching into the sixth in his second start.

George Sherrill got his third save.

Royals 4, Indians 2

At Kansas City, Mo., Zack Greinke extended his scoreless inning streak to 25 innings for the Royals.

Greinke (2-0) wiggled out of trouble for five scoreless innings. Greinke has thrown 11 scoreless frames this season in winning his first two starts and has not allowed a run since the sixth inning on Sept. 13 at Cleveland.

The Royals scored three runs in the first off right-hander Fausto Carmona (0-2). Mark Teahen and Alberto Callaspo hit RBI singles around Billy Butler’s run-scoring double.

Athletics 8, Red Sox 2

At Oakland, Calif., Jason Giambi drove in two runs, Jack Cust and Nomar Garciaparra each homered and the Athletics handed Boston its fifth loss in six games.

Dallas Braden (1-1) pitched six solid innings, allowing two runs on six hits, as the Athletics ended a three-game losing skid.

Kevin Youkilis had a homer run and doubled for the Red Sox.

Jon Lester (0-2) allowed six runs and 10 hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide