September 30, 2011
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Leading lad: Poor Kelly Shoppach(notes). The Rays catcher puts together the playoff game of his life — 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBI — and yet he somehow still ends up as the secondary story. Then again, here's guessing that he's not complaining about what his batterymate Matt Moore(notes) did. Despite being the least experienced starter to ever start a postseason game 1, the 22-year-old rookie southpaw allowed only two hits and striking out six over a brilliant seven innings of shutout ball.
Head hanger: There's no doubt C.J. Wilson(notes) would like this one back. The Rangers' reigning ace did his best Cliff Lee(notes)-in-World Series Game 1 impression, allowing eight runs (six earned) over five innings of work. After going 1-2-3 in the first, Wilson hit Ben Zobrist(notes) to start the second and then surrendered a two-run homer to the next batter, Johnny Damon(notes). Wilson never regained his composure and was victimized by Shoppach twice.
Key play: Shoppach's first home run — a three-run blast to straightaway center — really took the Rangers Ballpark crowd out of the game. The third-inning homer also provided a little bit of comic relief as a Rangers fan caught the ball on a fly in the grassy batter's eye and threw it back Rowengartner-style in one fluid motion.
What they'll be talking about: Matt Moore. If he continues pitching like this, then the Rays' World Series dreams are no joke. Also expect to hear about Josh Hamilton's(notes) bunt in the sixth inning with a runner on first. Trying to change things up by having your best power hit bunt his way aboard? What the heck were the Rangers trying to do?
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