Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rays fly past the Sox again, Up 2-0 in the Series

By JC De La Torre

The Rays are one game away from advancing to the American League Championship Series as they zipped past the Chicago White Sox 6-2 in Game Two of the ALDS. Rays Ace Scott Kazmir had a rocky start, hitting Orlando Cabrerra to begin the game (some believe on purpose for Cabrerra's little tift with Grant Balfour the previous game). He loaded the bases in the 1st and ended up giving up 2 runs. After Dioner Navarro singled in a run in the second, it was 2-1 until the bottom of the 5th. With Bartlett on, Aki Iwamura, who hit only six home runs during the regular season, blasted a two run homer to left to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. After Kaz left in the 6th, Balfour and JP Howell got the Rays to the bottom of the 8th with the lead - where the Rays opened up the game. BJ Upton led off with the triple. Crawford's single scored Upton, then Rocco Baldelli's single scored Crawford. Navarro would give the Rays one more run with another double setting up the 9th for peculiar Chad Bradford. Bradford's strange pitching style (each pitch his knuckles on his pitching arm swing down, nearly touching the ground) seemed to dumbfound the White Sox and after a controversial "hit" by Jermaine Dye where Willie Aybar appeared to tag out Dye running to first but the umpire said he missed, Bradford shut down the Sox one, two, three for the win.

The Rays are now 23-2 in front of home crowds over 30,000. They go head-to-head with the Bucs as Game 3 starts at 4pm Eastern in Chicago, right about the same time the Bucs take on the Broncos. You don't want to look ahead, but with the Rays up 2-0 and the Boston Red Sox up 2-0 on the LA Angels heading back to Boston, it is conceivable that the Rays could have home field advantage for the ALCS. Boston has not beaten Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg this season.

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