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Herd to face alum of Rays' World Series team

The Buffalo Bisons have posted a trio of four-game winning streaks this season and will try to do it for a fourth time in the opener of tonight's doubleheader against the Durham Bulls in Coca-Cola Field. To do it, they'll have to beat one of the key cogs of the Tampa Bay Rays' 2008 World Series team.

SonnRight-hander Andy Sonnanstine, a 13-game winner for the '08 Rays, will be the starter for Durham in the opener. Sonnantine has struggled to find his '08 form as he went 6-9 for the Rays in 2009 and 3-1 last year in 41 appearances (23 starts). He was 0-2, 5.71 this year in 14 games (four starts) before being optioned to Durham, where he is 2-3, 4.17 in six games (five starts).

In '08, Sonnanstine was the starter and winner in Tampa Bay's Game Four division series clincher over the Chicago White Sox. In the picture at right from the St. Petersburg Times, Sonnanstine is wearing the goggles while getting doused from behind by Rocco Baldelli and hugged by Rays outfielder Fernando Perez -- who will be starting in center field and batting ninth tonight for the Bisons. Small world this game is sometimes.

Sonnanstine also pitched 7 1/3 innings to get the win in Game Four of the ALCS over the Red Sox in Fenway Park. His Game Four luck ran out, however, in the World Series at Philadelphia as he gave up five runs in four innings and took the loss in a 10-2 defeat.

The Bulls, by the way, already have one canceled game on their schedule (a May contest at Syracuse) and need to get these two in as they open play today 1 1/2 games ahead of Gwinnett in the IL South. The weather forecast gets a little dicey as the night goes on.

Here's the Bisons' lineup:

Jordany Valdespin, ss
Josh Satin, 2b
Zach Lutz, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, 1b
Fernando Martinez, dh
Jesus Feliciano, lf
Mike Nickeas, c
Bubba Bell, rf
Fernando Perez, cf
Mark Cohoon, p

---Mike Harrington

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