Coming into Thursday afternoon's opening game against the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist had 15 RBIs on the season. But with his bat starting to heat up the past week, Zobrist finally erupted in Minnesota, getting four hits and a club-record eight RBIs as the Rays enjoyed a 15-3 shellacking of the Twins.
The previous record for the Rays was seven which was set by Carlos Pena in 2007.
Zobrist started off his hit parade in the first inning as he got them off to an early lead wih an RBI single. He followed it up in the sixth inning he smashed a three-run home run to right field, his sixth dinger of the season. Later in the seventh and ninth he added a pair of two-run doubles, to become the first player in the Majors with eight or more RBIs in a game since Adam Lind of the Blue Jays did it on Aug. 31, 2009.
It was also the first game of a day-night doubleheader, which meant Zobrist would get another chance to continue to provide more run support for the Rays before the changing of the calendar day. It will take a big effort in the nightcap to make a run at the RBI record for a double-header, which is 13.
The Rays couldn't be happier with the timing of the 29-year-old's hot bat. In his last four games, he has three home runs, and his .205 batting average jumped to.236 thanks to the record but is still among the worst on the team.
“Everybody kept having good quality at-bats,” Zobrist told MLB.com. “We can be a very dangerous team up and down the lineup.”
It was a team effort for the Rays, who finished the day with 15 hits and had seven different players score at least one run, while all but two starters hit safely at least once. The win helped the Rays improve to 12-3 since April 10, which is the best record in baseball in that span and they're going to need to keep it up since they're currently a game and a half behind the New York Yankees for the lead in the American League's Eastern Division.
Photo credit- AP