In one of the weirder endings to see in spring training, the Rays pulled out a win against Baltimore 4-3. In the top of the 9th, score tied 3-3; Wil Myers led off the inning with a double to left off top Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, on a 2-2 count to Rays prospect Tim Beckham, Bundy spiked the ball and Orioles catcher Luis Exposito raked the ball in with his catcher’s mask after the pitch was in the dirt. A missed catch violation allowed the winning run to score from third base and the Rays held on to win 4-3. A catcher has to pick up a ball with either his glove or his hand, if he uses anything else, it is a violation and all runners move up a base.
Jeff Niemann, battling for the fifth starter’s job against Roberto Hernandez pitched 4 1/3 allowing 4H, 1ER, 3BB, and 3K. He also outdueled Orioles starting pitching prospect and 2012 first round pick Kevin Gausman. Niemann was relieved with a runner on 1st in the 5th inning by Juan Sandoval; Sandoval walked a batter then gave up a three-run HR to Matt Wieters. Josh Lueke pitched after him, going 2 scoreless innings with 2K. J.D. Martin and Kirby Yates combined to pitch the 9th inning with Yates getting his first save of the spring.
Tampa’s offense started going in the third when Evan Longoria had a 2-out RBI double against Gausman driving in Kelly Johnson, who got on base after a walk. Mike Belfiore relieved Gausman and gave up a 2-run HR to Luke Scott, his first of the spring. Matt Joyce also went 2-3 with a double. Sean Rodriguez, also battling for playing time showed off his versatility by entering the game in CF and stealing his 2nd base of the spring. Rodriguez’s versatility will be his most important asset as he goes through the spring and into the regular season.
Tomorrow, Matt Moore will start against the Phillies in a 1:05pm start in Charlotte. In three outings Moore is 0-2 with a 8.22ERA. Also scheduled to pitch are Jamey Wright, Joel Peralta, Brandon Gomes, Kyle Farnsworth, and J.D. Martin.