By Eric Schmidt

The Tampa Bay Rays opened the 2012 regular season in the same fashion they finished the 2011 regular season-with a dramatic victory over the New York Yankees. Last season, the Rays defeated the Yankees with a walk-off home run by 3B Evan Longoria. On Friday, Tampa Bay defeated the Yankees with their last as bat as well despite the ramifications of the game being far less important.

The games final hit was delivered by 1B Carlos Pena, a bases loaded single off Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera. Pena returned to the Rays this season after playing for a one-year contract last season with the Chicago Cubs. Pena’s return to the Rays lineup was felt immediately as Pena went 3 for 5 Friday including a grand slam home run with his first at bat of the season.

On the surface, one would have expected a pitcher’s duel with the two teams sending their aces to the mound, but both starting pitchers struggled. Yankess SP C.C. Sabathia lasted six innings but surrendered five earned runs and allowed three walks, but two home runs. Rays SP James Shields only last five innings, allowing 6 earned runs and one home run. Both pitchers threw an equal 104 pitches.

Tonight’s matchup with face Rays SP David Price squaring off against Yankees SP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and was signed in January this year to a one-year $10 million dollar contract.

 

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