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Carlos Pena's Home Run Lifts Rays Past Yankees In 10

Joe Maddon has often preached about how the Rays need to put 2008 behind them and focus on the here and now in 2009. However, you couldn't help but to think back to 2008 when the Rays gave up a three run lead in the middle of a torrential downpour in the eight inning. Nightmares of the World Series crept into the minds of all Rays' fans; however Carlos Pena would not let us go to bed without a fairy tale ending.

In a lot of ways this game was similar to the 2008 Rays. Behind a tremendous start by Andy Sonnanstine, the Rays cruised through most of the game up until that eight inning. Besides Sonnanstine's fantastic performance, the Rays got huge outs in the pen by Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour and even Troy "Bullet-Proof Tiger Man" Percival. Offensively, we also saw a lot of things we were used to seeing last year.

The Rays threatened in the first inning without the benefit of a hit, but would not be able to cash in with a runner in scoring position and two outs. The second inning would end the same way with a runner stranded on second base and no runs on the board. Finally, in the third inning the early season MVP favorite, Evan Longoria came through with his major league leading 35th RBI on his major league leading 14th double. Longoria has had just an amazing start and I'll take a more in-depth look at that start tomorrow, but back to the game.

The bats would remain silent for the next few innings until the team pushed two across in the sixth. Pat Burrell, who reached on a walk and worked his way to third base would score on a deep fly ball to center off the bat off of Akinori Iwamura to make the game 2-0. With two outs, the regression continued for Dioner Navarro. For the second straight night, he would put together a string of solid at-bats including on in the sixth. Navi laced a beautiful line drive into right field off of a chest high 94 mph fastball from A.J. Burnett. For Navarro it was his third hit in the past two nights and the line drive is a welcomed sight for him.Navi's RBI single would give the Rays a 3-0 lead until that eight inning. I'm going to let Erik handle that part of the game, so I'll skip to the good part.

After surviving the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera, I expected to see Mo standing on the mound to start the 10th inning against Carlos Pena. However, choosing to play the lefty/lefty match-up, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi summoned southpaw Phil Coke from his bullpen. Heading into play today, Los was hitting .241/.371/.552 with three home runs against lefties this year. After he put the second pitch he saw from Coke into the right field stands those numbers got even better. Pena hit his major league leading 12th home run, staying one home run ahead of Albert Pujols, who hit his 11th homer tonight. For the Rays and Troy Percival, it would be all they would need as Percy would get the save in trademark Percy fashion.

Going into the season Joe Maddon said 2009 was greater than 2008, but for one night it didn't hurt for the two seasons to be equal.