Rays 8, Cardinals 3
Johnny Damon had an All-Star caliber weekend.
Damon drove in four runs, Jeremy Hellickson pitched into the
eighth inning to stop a personal four-game losing streak and the
Tampa Bay Rays beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Sunday.
”It’s just everything that he does,” Rays manager Joe Maddon
said of Damon, who was not named to the All-Star team. ”We need
that kind of influence here. He just handles it as well as it
possibly can be handled. The way he goes about his business.”
The Rays designated hitter has 25 career games with at least
”I’ve appreciated him for years,” St. Louis manager Tony La
Russa said. ”He’s had a great career.”
Damon, who had four hits in Saturday night’s 5-1 win over the
Cardinals, went 3 for 5 and moved past Harry Heilmann and Lave
Cross into 69th place on the all-time hits list with 2,661. His
three-run triple in the eighth made it 8-3.
”Things just happened to go right these past two games,” Damon
said. ”We beat a very good team. A team that will possibly be
playoff bound and World Series bound. It’s good to beat a very good
team, especially here at home, where we haven’t been playing
Three of Damon’s teammates, pitchers David Price and James
Shields, along with outfielder Matt Joyce were named before the
game to the 2011 AL All-Star team.
”It’s awesome,” Maddon said. ”I had no idea how it was going
to shape up.”
Hellickson (8-7) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3
innings. The Rays had been outscored 20-1 during the right-hander’s
Kyle Farnsworth pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his 17th
save, entering with a runner on second and one out in the eighth.
After retiring Matt Holliday on a flyball to right and walking
Lance Berkman, the closer struck out David Freese.
Berkman and Yadier Molina homered for the Cardinals. Kyle Lohse
(8-5) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings.
”We just got beat,” La Russa said. ”I really don’t have a
whole lot to say. Credit to the other side. Fundamentally we didn’t
play our best game. They score more than we scored, so they pitched
better and played better.”
B.J. Upton and John Jaso both had RBI doubles in the sixth as
Tampa Bay went ahead 5-3. The Rays (47-37) took two of three from
St. Louis and improved to 21-21 at home.
Berkman pulled St. Louis even at 3 on an opposite-field, two-run
homer to left during the sixth. He has 22 homers this season,
including 18 on the road.
Elliot Johnson reached on a two-out bunt single in the fifth and
scored when Damon doubled to deep right. Damon also crossed the
plate on the play to give the Rays a 3-1 lead when second baseman
Skip Schumaker was charged with an error for an errant relay throw
The eight runs was the Rays’ most at home this year.
Molina put the Cardinals up 1-0 on a second-inning homer. The
Rays tied it at 1 in the third when Jaso doubled and later scored
on Johnson’s grounder.
St. Louis right fielder Jon Jay made a nice sliding catch on
Justin Ruggiano’s fourth-inning fly ball with two on and two
NOTES: On his drive to the ballpark, Joyce was thinking about
his off-day plans, which was probably spending time at a condo on
the beach, and not an All-Star spot. ”It’s terrible,” Joyce said
with a laugh. ”Ruins my off days. I’ve never been to an All-Star
game, period. I’m pumped. I can’t tell you how excited I am.
Achieve a dream.” … Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria got the day off.
”A lot of little bumps and bruises,” Maddon said. ”Just want to
take care of him. He’ll be back (Monday).” … Holliday played in
the field after being the DH in the previous two games due to
cold-like symptoms. … The Cardinals also had three players named
(Berkman, Holliday and Molina) to participate in the 2011 All-Star
game. … Berkman has four homers over his last four games. He has
gone deep twice in four overall at-bats against Hellickson.