Holy hits: Rays rough up Red Sox 16-5

The Rays started scoring early; with one out in the first inning, Johnny Damon took the 0-0 pitch into the seats in right field for a home run in his former home.

The real magic came in the top of the second. Ben Zobrist led off with a double, kicking off an offensive explosion at the expense of Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. B.J. Upton followed it with a walk, after which Felipe Lopez got aboard with a single to load the bases. John Jaso doubled off the scoreboard in left-center field to drive in two runs. Reid Brignac’s single scored Lopez and Sam Fuld hit a three-run shot to right to cap a six run frame, with five of six hits coming in a row off Matsuzaka, most of which came on the 0-0 pitch.

Once the floodgates were opened, there was no stopping this effusive offensive output. Although they got enough for the win in the second inning, the Rays continued to score throughout the game with big shots and small ball alike. They added a run in the fourth inning; Fuld picked up a one-out double and was singled home by Damon. In the fifth, Upton got aboard with a one-out single, originally scored an error to Boston’s SS Marco Scutaro. Jaso picked up a two-out base hit and Upton scored from first.

Fuld led off the top of the sixth with a triple; Damon walked and Fuld scored on a passed ball with Matt Joyce at the plate. Joyce singled and scored along with Damon on Zobrist’s two-out double.

That was it for the Rays offensively, until the four-spot they put up in the top of the ninth, that is. You know, just in case it wasn’t abundantly clear who was going to win heading into the final frame with a 12-4 margin. Zobrist, Upton and Casey Kotchman singled consecutively, with Zobrist scoring. Brignac’s one-out base hit scored Upton, bringing Fuld to the plate. Already 3-for-5 on the evening with a double, triple and a home run to his credit, Fuld got another chance to hit for the cycle but instead chose to pick up another double and another RBI, scoring Kotchman. Brignac scored on Damon’s ground out to cap the Rays at 16 runs on the night.

The bats weren’t the only things working well for the Rays Monday night. The also benefited from another highlight-reel catch from Fuld, this time in left field. Crawford had led off the home half of the inning with a ground-rule double when Fuld robbed Dustin Pedroia of an RBI-double by once again doing his best Superman impression and managing to hold Crawford on second.

The Redsox scored nuisance runs here and there but were never in this game, despite having several threats. If anything, their offensive efforts did nothing but deprive fans of sleep. Maybe the Rays kept a little something in the tank and can do something slightly less awesome in a win Tuesday night. If they score one run on four hits, there could be a mass suicide march from the Trop to the Sunshine Skyway.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It’s almost impossible to describe the ridiculous contrast between the Rays team that boarded a plane in Chicago yesterday and the one that landed in Boston. The version visiting Beantown beat the pants off the Redsox to the tune of 16-5 and a river of tears flowed into the pints of Sam Adams.

Jeremy Hellickson came away with the win, despite not bringing his best stuff. The Rays rookie starting pitcher had an uncharacteristically sloppy game but got plenty of run support on a night when he need it the most. The bats picked Hellboy up in an evening when he threw for 5 and 1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on five hits. Not bad numbers, certainly still winning numbers, but the troubling parts of his line were the 5 walks and only 1 strikeout. The kid was clearly off his game.

But that’s all just wanting to have one’s cake and eat it too. Hellickson could have done a lot worse and still come away with the W.

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