ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Andy Sonnanstine thought the last time he batted third was in Little League, maybe.
Sonnanstine, a Wadsworth High School graduate, delivered after a pregame mistake forced the pitcher to bat Sunday, hitting an RBI double in the Tampa Bay Rays` 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
The game was delayed 13 minutes before the bottom of the first due to a lineup card error by the Rays that listed both Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria as the third baseman. Longoria was supposed to be the designated hitter, but Tampa Bay lost the DH position because of the snafu and was forced to put Sonnanstine in the third spot of the lineup.
“I knew something was up, but I didn`t know exactly what was going to happen,” Sonnanstine said. “They told me that I was going to have to hit, and I corrected them and told them â€˜I get to hit.` I took it as an opportunity. That was one of the craziest games I`ve ever been a part of.”
Sonnanstine (2-4) went 1-for-3, including a run-scoring double in the fourth. He also reached on a failed sacrifice in the first and struck out looking in the third.
Rays manager Joe Maddon took the blame for the lineup card miscue. He didn`t notice the problem before signing it.
“I messed up, and the players picked me up,” he said.
Umpire crew chief Tim McClelland said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge brought up the issue.
“It`s just an interpretation of the rule and we had to be clear on the rule. That`s why we took so long in talking,” McClelland said. “We wanted to make sure all four of us were clear on the rule.”
Sonnanstine became the first pitcher to get at least two plate appearances in an AL game since teammate Matt Garza did it for the Minnesota Twins at the Chicago White Sox on July 6, 2007, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
On the mound, Sonnanstine gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Ben Francisco had two homers and four RBIs for the Indians, who lost three straight against the Rays after winning the series opener Thursday.
There was a brief scrum in the bottom of the eighth after Indians closer Kerry Wood`s first two pitches went behind and in tight to B.J. Upton. Catcher Victor Martinez, who got out of the way of a high-and-inside pitch earlier in the series, got into a yelling match with someone on the Rays` bench before both dugouts emptied.
Maddon feels Wood was intentionally throwing at Upton in response to the leadoff hitter stealing a base Thursday with the Rays trailing 9-0. Tampa Bay wound up scoring six times in the inning after the stolen base.
“From the get-go, it felt like one of those days. You just knew something wasn`t right,” Upton said. “The more I think about it, bringing the closer in to get one more out, it probably should have been heads up in the box anyway. It`s over with, and we move on.”
Wedge said Wood didn`t throw on purpose at Upton.
“We got Kerry Wood out there because he hasn`t pitched in three days, and I figured if we could tie it or take the lead, we can run him one-plus (inning),” Wedge said.
Percival hit Mark DeRosa, the leadoff hitter in the ninth, on an 0-2 pitch.
“I`m not going to put a game on the line in that situation. I`m not going to hit him (intentionally),” Percival said.
Tampa Bay scored five times in the fourth to take a 7-3 lead. Jason Bartlett hit an RBI single and Michel Hernandez added a three-run double. Hernandez came home when Sonnanstine doubled to left against rookie David Huff (0-1).
Upton walked, stole second and scored on Carl Crawford`s single to give the Rays a 1-0 lead in the first. Tampa Bay has at least one stolen base in 19 straight games, which equals the longest streak in the AL since the 1914 New York Yankees had a 19-game run.
Francisco homered in both at-bats against Sonnanstine, and is 6-for-7 with four homers overall against the right-hander. He put the Indians ahead 3-1 with a three-run drive in the second and added a solo shot in a two-run fifth.
Huff gave up seven runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in his major league debut. The left-hander walked four and struck out two.
Longoria entered the game at third with two outs in the sixth when Grant Balfour replaced Sonnanstine. He also moved into the third spot of the lineup.
The Rays may have gotten a big break in the eighth when it appeared the umpires blew the call on Ryan Garko`s deep drive to left with one out. It was ruled that Crawford caught the fly after it first hit his glove while jumping at the wall. TV replays indicated the ball went off the padding just below the home run line before the left fielder got to it.
McClelland said Crawford`s catch is not reviewable by video.
“We had just a little bit of everything,” Crawford said. “One of those games that, who`s watching it on TV would be happy with the entertainment.”
Indians DH Travis Hafner (shoulder), on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus, singled in three-at-bats against injured New York Yankees RHP Chien-Ming Wang (hips), who started for Scranton/Wikes-Barre.