Zobrist scorches Twins in 15-3 Rays beat-down

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Zobrist ended the first game today with 23 RBI on the season, leading the American League. He has six home runs and four stolen bases in 24 games played.

"I feel like it comes down to: Sometimes you're hot, sometimes you're not," Zobrist said.

Hot is putting it mildly.

Big Ben has 16 RBI in his last four games.

His batting average is still low at .236. But the season is young.

His hot bat came on a day when the batters ahead of him heated up, too.

Johnny Damon and B.J. Upton batted out of the No. 2 and 3 holes, respectively. They both scored three runs and went 3-for-4, with Damon extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Matt Joyce batted 3-for-4 out of the clean-up spot.

They were on base for Zorilla, and when he came up, he did what's expected of big bats.

Zobrist looks a lot like his 2009 self.

This 2.011 version might be even better.

click to enlarge The missing piece? - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
The missing piece?

The missing piece?

Ben Zobrist put on a show Thursday in Minnesota, demonstrating to Twins fans how he got nicknames like "Big Ben" and "Zorilla."

The switch-hitter paced the Rays, going 4-for-6 with eight RBI and two runs scored on a day when the offense clicked. Tampa Bay brought a 15-3 beat-down to the Twins in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader.

Zobrist's eight RBI broke former Rays first baseman Carlos Pena's record for most in a game, which was seven.

"RBIs are all about your teammates getting on base," Zobrist said. "I was fortunate enough to have runners on second and third just about every time, so I was trying to have good at-bats, try not to force the outcome."

It's a flash of the Zobrist who Tampa Bay fans fell in love with in 2009, when he batted .297 with 27 home runs and 91 RBI.

The Rays need that 2009 Zobrist to hang around all season, not last year's Zoby, who struggled at the plate. He hit only .238 and 10 homers.

With the emergence of Sam Fuld, who seems to have solidified the lead-off spot, and having Johnny Damon and Evan Longoria, who's been on the DL, a hot Zobrist could be the fourth big bat that the Rays have sought since last year.

He might have been that guy, if not for a back injury he suffered in July.

Zobrist looks healthy this season. He looks comfortable at the plate. Could you imagine a better version of his 2009 self — a 2.011 version, if you will?

So far he is.

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