The Dominican Republic broke open a 1-1 tie in the ninth inning against the United States in the World baseball Classic last night, coming away with a 3-1 victory. Erick Aybar drove in Nelson Cruz with one out to put the Dominican Republic ahead, and came around to score on a base hit by Jose Reyes. Fernando Rodney nailed down the save, continuing his impressive run through the WBC. In what may be a positive sign for the regular season, Rodney has yet to allow a hit in his 4.1 innings of work. Amongst the batters that Rodney faced in the ninth was pinch hitter Ben Zobrist, who struck out.
Before the game on Friday, Joe Maddon, several players, and members of the Rays staff will be shaving their heads for the second consecutive year to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Fans attending the game will have the opportunity to shave their heads along with the Rays, and will receive a “Fortune Favors the Bald” shirt for a $100 donation. The event starts at 11:30.
Following in the footsteps of David Price on Wednesday, Jeremy Hellickson appeared in a minor league game yesterday, since he is scheduled to face the Orioles in the second game of the season. Unlike Price’s outing, however, Hellickson had a rough start, allowing three runs (two earned) on four walks and four hits in 3.1 innings of work covering 70 pitches. He also hit a batter and recorded three strikeouts while throwing 41 of his pitches for strikes.