Price K’s 5, Johnson and Gimenez Both Have Multiple RBI Games As Rays Roll Over Twins

By Dereck Violante

The Rays’ pitchers were in control and the offense impressed once again as the Rays’ easily got past the Twins in a 7-2 win at Charlotte Sports Park, continuing to play well this spring to the tune of a 7 -3 record.

Coming off his Cy Young season, David Price had another dominant performance to begin this game as he struck out five while walking none in 3 innings of work. Price gave up only one hit, a line drive single to center by Ray Olmedo in the third inning. It was the second day of a Ray starter managing that same exact line of 3 IP, 1 H, 5 K, 0 BB after Alex Cobb did the same on Saturday, and while Rays pitchers are going to need to go at least double that many innings during the regular season, nice to see Rays pitchers throwing the ball well.

Price pitched great in this game, but the big story was that the Rays’ DH, Luke Scott, left the game with due to tightness in his left hamstring after a fly out to right field in the second inning. At this time he is considered day to day, and while Scott said that he’ll be OK, the Rays have to really hope that Scott knows what he’s talking about.

Looking to make the opening day roster out of spring training, Jamie Wright, the 17 year major league veteran, continued to do little to improve his chances, giving up one earned on two hits while striking out none and walking none in one inning of work, keeping his ERA at 9.00 in 3 appearances. His command has not been good as his groundout to flyout ratio has been just 1.33, and Wright is going to need to turn that around in a hurry.

New Twins pitcher and former Rays draft pick Mike Pelfrey also had an effective start, tossing three shutout innings himself in his second appearance coming off Tommy John surgery. Competing for a spot in the rotation, the ex-Met gave up one hit and walked one, rebounding from allowing 3 runs in 1.2 innings his first time out.  Pelfrey and top prospect Trevor May were the only Twins pitchers to keep the Rays offense in check, as the Rays knocked in 7 runs off 10 hits by the time the game was through.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back, with three consecutive singles by Yunel Escobar, Mike Fontenot, and James Loney, with Loney’s base knock scoring Escobar.  But it was the efforts of Kelly Johnson, a 2-run double to right, in the fifth inning  to put the Rays ahead for the rest of the game. Chris Gimenez also had a great game at the plate, knocking in a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to score Wil Myers, and then blasting a two run homer to center in the eighth inning,to complete a 3 RBI day and continuing his hot spring start.

Desmond Jennings continued to have a dominating spring by going 1 for 2 with a run scored and a walk to raise his batting average to .444 so far this spring and another strong performer was  Joel Peralta who gave up 1 hit while striking out one and walking none in his inning of work.  Wil Myers managed a 1 for 2 performance with a booming triple in the sixth.

All in all, the Rays offense looked good in this game with multiple batters contributing to the win.  We know the Rays’ pitching will be great, but let’s hope the Tampa Bay offense can continue to produce at a high level and carry some momentum into the regular season.