But facing the Sox six days later in his 15th big-league game, the 24-year-old decided to stray from the game plan, and he paid the price. The Red Sox turned several misplaced breaking balls into key hits. Sonnanstine essentially admitted he outthought himself.
"It's tough when you face a team in back-to-back starts, let alone the Boston Red Sox," he said. "I tried to vary the plan a little bit instead of staying along the same lines."
Manager Joe Maddon said it's a common -— and understandable —- rookie mistake.
"I think that's the temptation all the time with young players when they come to the league; they feel as though you may have to do something differently once you arrive," he said. "And if you play a team twice within a week or so, of course you have to do something different once again."
The young right-hander is 2-9 with a 6.53 ERA in 15 starts since being called up from Triple-a Durham.
RED SOX 8, DEVIL RAYS 6: Boston rode a five-run fourth inning and a strong combined pitching effort from Jon Lester and three relievers to beat the Rays for the ninth time in 11 games. Click here for a full game summary.
-- First baseman Carlos Pena hit his career-high 28th homer Tuesday, matching the fifth highest season total by a Ray. Aubrey Huff hit a team-record 34 in 2003. Pena is one shy of the Fred McGriff's 1999 team record for a first baseman.
--Third baseman Akinori Iwamura hit first home run since June 23, ending a span of 50- homerless games. Iwamura hits left-handed, and all four of his homers have come off lefties.
--Right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson, who starts Wednesday, is on an impressive roll, posting a 1.33 ERA over his last four starts. However, he has just one win to show for it.
--Left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir admitted that he is frustrated by the Rays' commitment to limit his pitches to the 100-or-so range. "It just frustrates me that it's in my head," Kazmir said. "You work into the late innings and you always have to worry about the pitch count. It's something where you just don't need that. You have enough stuff going on."
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Players in the last 75 years to have 60 triples over a four-year span (Lance Johnson, with 61 from 1993-96) and Stan Musial (64, from 1946-49). With one more, LF Carl Crawford will become the third player.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Unacceptable." -- Principal owner Stuart Sternberg, summing up the Rays' major-league worst 46-74 record.
Tyler Hissey contributed to this report.