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Spring Game 24: Joey Butler’s Homer Leads Rays To Tie

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Joey Butler got word on Monday that he would not be making the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster, but apparently that didn’t faze him. Thanks to the efforts of Butler and several of the Rays’ young players, they found a way to a 6-6 tie with the Baltimore Orioles.

Matt Andriese had a rough outing for the Rays, going 3 innings allowing 5 runs, 3 earned, on 8 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. He wasn’t nearly as sharp as he had been in his previous outing, but we can make an excuse for him if we are so inclined. Each of Andriese’s first six hits allowed came on groundballs, and four of them didn’t even leave the infield. Unfortunately for him, the hits ended up in good spots and changed the course of his outing dramatically.

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The Rays found themselves down 5-0 after the top of the fourth inning, but Evan Longoria quickly changed that, drilling a long home run to right-center. Kevin Jepsen gave a run back after Brad Boxberger had tossed a perfect inning, but the Rays pulled within 6-3 on a Longoria sac fly that nearly left the yard again and a James Loney RBI single. Two perfect frames from Steve Geltz and a shutout inning from C.J. Riefenhauser insured that the Rays remained in the game entering the ninth inning.

The Rays put in Jeff Ames to start the ninth inning, and that was a sketchy proposition as he was coming off an injury-riddled year at High-A. However, with the help of a caught stealing on a nice throw from Curt Casali, Ames worked around two singles and a walk to keep the score 6-3. That proved to be critical in the bottom of the inning as the Rays got a Tyler Goeddel walk, a Tim Beckham single, and a two-out, game-tying home run from Joey Butler.

The Rays then brought in Damion Carroll, who hasn’t yet pitched above Rookie ball. But he showed off good fastball velocity as he worked a relatively easy inning, allowing a single and a wild pitch but nothing else. Then, in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Rays got singles from Mayo Acosta and Leonardo Reginatto, but after Casali sac-bunted, Goeddel and Beckham could not come up with more magic as the game finished in a tie.

Every Ray who started had a hit other than Brandon Guyer, and Desmond Jennings continued his excellent spring by going 2 for 3 with a double. David DeJesus went 1 for 3 with a walk and also stole a base. Logan Forsythe and Jake Elmore also joined him in the stolen base column as the Rays continued being aggressive this spring.

The tie takes the Rays to 11-11-2 in exhibition play. Tomorrow, they will have split-squad games against the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. There will be a TV broadcast of the Red Sox game on NESN if you’re in New England or are an MLB.TV subscriber.

Next: Three Tampa Bay Rays Rookies Battle for Roster Spots

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