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Tampa Bay at St. Louis

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Tampa Bay (25-17) «0021000003120
St. Louis (24-20)000000010181

Sonnanstine shuts down Cards as Rays move eight games over .500

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Andy Sonnanstine's strong pitching was no surprise. After carrying a shutout into the eighth inning, the right-hander has won his past five decisions for the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was Sonnanstine's second-career two-hit game that the St. Louis Cardinals didn't see coming.

"The guy doesn't even probably take BP, so you've got to give him credit," Cardinals starter Braden Looper said after the Rays' 3-1 victory Friday night. "It was pretty amazing. At least I'm not the first one, anyway."

Akinori Iwamura had three hits and an RBI for the AL East leaders, who are eight games above .500 for the first time in franchise history. Iwamura is on a 9-for-21 tear for the Rays (25-17), who have won eight of nine with three shutouts while outscoring the opposition 38-15.

"I'll take this eight out of seven days every week," manager Joe Maddon said.

Albert Pujols was 0-for-4 with two groundouts, an infield popup and a strikeout, ending his streak of reaching base in all 42 games to start the season. It also ended Pujols' 14-game hitting streak, and he made his first error of the year at first base, muffing B.J. Upton's soft liner in the seventh.

Sonnanstine said a scouting report from Rays closer Troy Percival, who played for the Cardinals last year, was a big help against Pujols.

"I sat down with Percy before the game and we went over the lineup, and our approach on him was mostly to just keep him in the yard," Sonnanstine said. "He's one of the best hitters in the game right now and I'm very happy with the way we went about pitching him."

Chris Duncan homered and Troy Glaus had two hits, making him 10-for-18 the last four games, for the Cardinals. But St. Louis has lost eight of 10, including three of the first four games of a six-game homestand.

Sonnanstine (6-1) is 5-0 in his past six starts, matching last year's win total in a 6-10 season. Duncan's fourth homer with one out in the eighth was the only damage against the right-hander, who yielded one run and eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

"Having a guy on the mound that's competitive is sometimes better than having someone with great stuff," Percival said. "He really kept them off-balance and that's hard to do with that kind of lineup."

Sonnanstine allowed only three other baserunners into scoring position before Percival worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances. Rays starters have a 1.16 ERA in the last 10 games.

Looper, in his second year in the Cardinals' rotation, threw a career-high 117 pitches while giving up three runs and 10 hits in six innings. The Rays stranded at least one runner in every inning, including two in the fourth.

Looper (5-3) was 0-3 with a 12.56 ERA in interleague play last year and is 6-7 with a 5.57 ERA for his career.

"I definitely wasn't at my best," he said. "It could have gotten out of control very fast, so I guess that would be the one positive I'd take out of it. Still, I've got to be better than that."

Sonnanstine is 4-for-8 at the plate for his career after starting a two-run third with a single and also singling in the fourth. Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena had RBI singles in the third. Iwamura added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

"I'm a man of many talents," Sonnanstine joked. "I see ball, hit ball. I knew I was going to get some fastballs and I just barreled a couple up."

Notes

  • Iwamura has six multihit efforts in the past seven games.
  • Rays SS Jason Bartlett was 2-for-4 after missing Thursday's game because his wife had a complication with her pregnancy.
  • RHP Chris Perez worked a scoreless seventh, once hitting 100 mph on the radar gun, in his major league debut for the Cardinals. Perez's contract was purchased from Triple-A Memphis when closer Jason Isringhausen went on the DL with a cut on his pitching hand and is the fifth player to make his debut with St. Louis this season.
  • Rick Ankiel was 0-for-4, ending a nine-game hitting streak.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Akinori Iwamura is on a 9-for-21 run after his three hits Friday.  (AP)
Akinori Iwamura is on a 9-for-21 run after his three hits Friday. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

A. Sonnanstine
IP 8.0
H 8
ER 1
BB 0
K 4
St. Louis

C. Duncan
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B5131001 .275
Carl Crawford, LF5011003 .274
B.J. Upton, CF4010102 .272
Carlos Pena, 1B5011013 .212
Evan Longoria, 3B4020012 .220
Eric Hinske, RF4000012 .252
    Gabe Gross, RF0000000 .218
Dioner Navarro, C3100111 .372
Jason Bartlett, SS4020002 .245
Andy Sonnanstine, P3120011 .667
    Troy Percival, P0000000 .000
Totals37312325  
Batting
2B - Akinori Iwamura (6, Parisi), B.J. Upton (9, Looper), Evan Longoria (5, Looper)
SH - Andy Sonnanstine (1)
RBI - Akinori Iwamura (14), Carl Crawford (25), Carlos Pena (20)
2-OUT RBI - Akinori Iwamura (5), Carlos Pena (5)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Iwamura-Bartlett-Pena
Tampa Bay Rays
Andy Sonnanstine (W,6-1) 8811041 4.53
Troy Percival (S,11) 1000000 2.12
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Sonnanstine 98-76, Troy Percival 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Sonnanstine 11-8
Batters Faced - Andy Sonnanstine 31, Troy Percival 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, RF4000002 .278
Chris Duncan, LF4121011 .268
Albert Pujols, 1B4000011 .347
Rick Ankiel, CF4000011 .285
Troy Glaus, 3B4020010 .271
Yadier Molina, C4010003 .300
Adam Kennedy, 2B4000001 .273
Braden Looper, P2020000 .438
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
   a- Aaron Miles, PH-SS1000000 .280
Cesar Izturis, SS3010001 .252
    Mike Parisi, P0000000 .000
Totals3418104  
a-grounded out-bunting for Perez in the 7th
Batting
3B - Troy Glaus (1, Sonnanstine)
HR - Chris Duncan (4, Sonnanstine)
RBI - Chris Duncan (12)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Kennedy-Pujols, Kennedy-Izturis-Pujols
E - Albert Pujols (1, Dropped line drive)
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,5-3) 61033210 4.25
Chris Perez 1000010 0.00
Mike Parisi 2200030 3.00
WP - Braden Looper (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 117-72, Chris Perez 17-11, Mike Parisi 30-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 9-6, Chris Perez 1-2, Mike Parisi 2-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 28, Chris Perez 4, Mike Parisi 8
Game Information
Attendance - 43136
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Brian Runge, Third Base - Charlie Reliford