The Tampa Bay Rays tied the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-1 on Saturday afternoon in Bradenton. Once again it was a pitchers’ duel between the opposing staffs, which isn’t uncommon this early in Spring Training. Alex Cobb made his debut and was solid in his two innings on the hill. The other pitchers behind him also found success on the afternoon.
Tampa native Corey Brown finally got the scoring started in the eighth inning with a deep solo shot over the right field fence, but the Pirates got the run back in the bottom of the inning. With Steve Lombardozzi on third base and one out, Justin O’Conner tried to make something happen and pick the runner off. However, the throw hit Steve Lombardozzi in the helmet and rolled into the outfield, allowing the run to score.
The run proved to be earned after Dylan Floro allowed a single, and the Pirates made some noise in the bottom of the 10th, putting the winning run 90 feet away with nobody out. However, Robert Zarate utilized some excellent breaking pitches to strike out the next two batters before Jhan Marinez forced a groundout to end the game as a tie.
Alex Cobb started for the Rays and threw two sharp innings allowing just 1 hit while striking out 2. He located his fastball well, and his split-change danced around the zone to keep hitters off-balance. Everett Teaford pitched pitched a pair of innings as well and look strong in his own right. He pitched primarily at the top of zone and gave up a couple well-struck balls, but he allowed nothing other than two hits.
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Grayson Garvin had a nice outing on the day, using a particularly live fastball that seemed to have lots of movement, especially to right handed hitters. Garvin is an interesting prospect that has always struggled to stay healthy. The other pitcher of note in this game was Dylan Floro. Floro struggled a bit with command, but he had a deceptive delivery that seemed to throw some hitters off. He’s had plenty of success so far in the minor leagues and could be an option for the Durham Bulls’ rotation.
Offensively, Evan Longoria went 1 for 3 on the day with a nice line drive double down the left field line. Desmond Jennings also had a productive day at the plate, going 2 for 3, and Steven Souza Jr. had a nice double into the right field gap. As mentioned, Brown had the most important hit on the game, a solo home run to right field.
Ryan Brett and Justin O’Connor each had at-bats in the game (O’Connor had two), but neither managed to get a hit. John Jaso got hit by a pitch in the first inning and didn’t return as a precaution and Nick Franklin also left the game after his second at bat with an apparent injury, but both will be OK.
Defensively, Desmond Jennings made a great diving catch in left field to rob Andrew McCutchen of extra bases. Evan Longoria, meanwhile, made one excellent barehanding play to rob Gustavo Nunez. He also made a pair of nice diving stops at third, but he couldn’t finish the throw on either. Finally, Bobby Wilson seemed to working pretty well behind the plate with Alex Cobb.
The Rays play at Port Charlotte tomorrow against the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 PM EST. Chris Archer will get the start and the game will be broadcast on 620 WDAE.