Carlos Pena Homers, Drives in 3 out of Leadoff Spot in Tampa Bay Rays Win

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIMay 22, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG - MAY 20:  Infielder Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays calls for the fly ball against the Atlanta Braves during the game at Tropicana Field on May 20, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Well, Joe Maddon has struck again.

Maddon is definitely known for some, well, different lineup decisions—catcher John Jaso leading off in previous seasons is a good example.

Tuesday night's contest featured an even more absurd move, as Maddon penciled in Carlos Pena's name in the No. 1 spot in the order.

Needless to say, I was confused.

Why would Maddon put his best run-producer in the leadoff spot of the order?

Well, I quickly learned why, as Pena followed up the decision by having quite a nice game.

Entering play on Tuesday, Pena was hitting just .116 in May and in the midst of an 0-for-18 slump. He snapped that slide with a home run in the fourth inning off Blue Jays' starter Drew Hutchison that traveled an estimated 452 feet.

The home run was a three-run shot and part of a five-run fourth inning for the Rays.

Pena finished the game 2-for-5 with the home run and three RBI, raising his season average to .215.

Maddon seems to always push the right buttons with his ballclub, and the Rays' record shows it. At 26-18, they're in good shape to make another run at the playoffs.