Royals
Rays
0 - 3 Final
  for this game

Rays extend winning streak to six

Jul 6, 2008 - 3:08 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Andy Sonnanstine was nearly an afterthought during spring training.

Sonnanstine pitched seven shutout innings and Akinori Iwamura had a two-run double as the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Kansas City Royals, 3-0, Saturday for their sixth consecutive victory.

Although he wasn't guaranteed a spot on the Rays' roster, Sonnanstine won his 10th game and is tied for the fourth-most wins among American League pitchers.

Ben Zobrist added a home run and a triple for the Rays, who are 16-4 in their last 20 overall and 31-6 in their last 37 home games.

The red-hot Rays (54-32) increased their lead to four games over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

"Sonnanstine was very efficient and his fastball command was good," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He was really good tonight and had seven solid innings."

Sonnanstine (10-3) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two in improving to 4-0 in his last seven starts.

"Once you get in a groove, you just keep pounding the strike zone," Sonnanstine said. "It's been a whirlwind. We feed off each other's success."

Sonnanstine's 10 wins ties the club record for most wins before the All-Star break. Rolando Arrojo (1998) and Scott Kazmir (2006) also did it.

"It feels great," Sonnanstine said. "A lot of credit goes to the defense and the bullpen. I know I have to compete my butt off every time I'm out there."

J.P Howell walked one and struck out three in the eighth and Grant Balfour struck out two in the ninth to record his third save.

"I enjoy the situation," Balfour said. "It's definitely a lot of fun. Joe wants to use a closer by committee and I'm good with that."

Iwamura provided Sonnanstine with all the offense he needed in the second inning with his two-out, two-run double. Cliff Floyd and Dioner Navarro led off the inning with singles, but Zack Greinke struck out Eric Hinske and Zobrist before allowing Iwamura's hit.

"That was a two-out, two-strike hit, a tremendous at-bat," Maddon said. "We've been able to do those things. Aki's at-bat was huge."

Zobrist, starting his first game since being called up from Class AAA Durham on Thursday, led off the seventh with a home run against reliever Ramon Ramirez. Zobrist also led off the fifth with a triple but was stranded.

Greinke (7-5) allowed seven hits, two runs, walked one and struck out seven but lost for the first time since June 8.

"It was a decent start," Greinke said. "But they had a couple of big at-bats and they capitalized on one of them."

The Royals, who lost for the sixth time in their last eight games, put up more of a fight before the game. Jose Guillen and pitching coach Bob McClure got into a heated pregame clubhouse exchange, knocking over chairs before several Royals had to separate them.

Guillen started in right field and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said Guillen and McClure had handled the incident in-house and he considered the matter over.

"We've got to do a better job with our offensive approach," Hillman said. "We've got to be able to put in some runs to be able to beat this team.

"Sonnanstine had the cutter going going, especially against lefthanders, and we were just not very selective of what we swung at. It wasn't as good as an approach as we need against a pitcher like him."

Royals left fielder David DeJesus went 0-for-4, ending his career-high 16-game hitting streak.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 3 10 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: KAN - ZACK GREINKE, HORACIO RAMIREZ (7TH) AND MIGUEL OLIVO
    TAM - ANDY SONNANSTINE, J.P. HOWELL (8TH), GRANT
    BALFOUR (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO

    HOME RUNS: KAN - NONE

    Jul 5 9:52 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BEN ZOBRIST (3) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    7TH OFF HORACIO RAMIREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 0, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.275, 1-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Royals 0, Rays 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 5 9:06 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AKINORI IWAMURA SCORED CLIFF FLOYD AND DIONER
    NAVARRO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A IWAMURA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 0
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.284, 1-FOR-1)

    Royals 0, Rays 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 5 7:46 PM