Rays Roundup: Red-hot Upton Carries Offense

In the edition of Rays Roundup: B.J. Upton is red-hot and giving the Rays offense some much needed punch, James Shields has a seven inning start for the first time since April 21, new infielder Drew Sutton hits clean-up for the first time in his career and closer Kyle Farnsworth is throwing off a mound. All of that and more inside.

INSIDE PITCH

Red-hot Upton carries offense

CF B.J. Upton has had hot streaks before.

But now he's coming through when the Rays really need him.

Upton was the star of the day Wednesday with a walk-off double that scored Rich Thompson with the decisive run in a 5-4 12-inning victory.

That capped a big week for Upton, who is hitting .448 (13-for-29) over his last seven games with two homers and a .793 slugging percentage, plus five stolen bases.

"B.J. has been doing really well," manager Joe Maddon said.

Upton has made a few changes in his approach at the plate, designed to make him more aggressive in the strike zone.

It obviously has worked, but he said one key to his success is not reading too much into it.

"The big thing," he said, "is not over-thinking."


NOTES, QUOTES

Shields tosses seven strong innings

--RHP James Shields got through seven innings for the first time since April 21 against Minnesota and finished with 10 strikeouts, one shy of his season high. It was his 12th double-digit strikeout game since the start of 2010; only Philadelphia's Cliff Lee has more with 16. "I thought James Shields was really, really good," manager Joe Maddon said. "He deserved a better fate than that."

--INF Drew Sutton batted cleanup, the first time in his big-league career he hit third, fourth or fifth. He delivered a two-run double in his first at-bat. Sutton said he knew manager Joe Maddon would try different things with the lineup when he saw Carlos Pena hitting leadoff. Asked what was the bigger stretch, he said: "Probably me cleanup."

--RHP Joel Peralta allowed his fifth homer of the season, second most among American League relievers. He has allowed eight of 18 inherited runners to score.

--RHP Kyle Farnsworth threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since going on the disabled list at the end of spring training due to a right elbow strain. Farnsworth threw 20 fastballs at a short distance, with the catcher in front of the plate, and said he felt good. "Everything went well," he said. "It felt free and easy."

--CF B.J. Upton delivered the fifth walk-off hit of his career to lead the Rays to a 5-4 11-inning win on Wednesday, and four of them have been against the Blue Jays. Upton said he had a simple approach vs. LHP Darren Oliver: "It looked like a good pitch to hit, so I swung at it."

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Walks for Rays batters off Jays pitchers, two short of the team record.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I hit that ball and I thought it was going to be second and third with one out. And as I'm touching second base, he was already around third base. It kind of blew my mind there was not a play at the plate." -- CF B.J. Upton, on Rich Thompson scoring the winning run.


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