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Rays Spring Game 29: Boog Powell, MiLBers Beat Tigers

By Robbie Knopf

Brandon Guyer hit a grand slam in the first inning off of Anibal Sanchez, but it was minor leaguers that led the Tampa Bay Rays to victory against the Detroit Tigers in the end.

Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays and was decent–except for against Miguel Cabrera. He was clearly working on things as he forced 7 groundouts versus 4 groundouts and didn’t strike out or walk a batter, and he allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in his 4 innings. The run came on a Cabrera 2-run homer and his RBI double.

The Tigers tied the game at 5 against Grant Balfour, but Kevin Jepsen, Brad Boxberger, and Jeff Beliveau tossed scoreless innings to keep it that way. Then the Rays’ minor leaguers came alive against Al Alburquerque. Alburquerque is coming off a 2.51 ERA in 72 appearances for the Tigers last season, but his ERA shot up to 9.75 this spring after his disastrous third of an inning.

It all started when Alexander Simon singled to center, and Thomas Milone followed by singling just past Andrew Romine at first base. Cameron Seitzer then showed off his plate approach as he drew a walk before Boog Powell gave the Rays a 7-5 lead on another groundball past Romine. Two batters later, Alec Sole hit an RBI single, Tommy Coyle drilled another single to score two more runs, and then Mayo Acosta finished things off with a sac fly.

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Hitting a few groundballs past infielders–which is exactly what the run-scoring hits from Powell and Coyle were–doesn’t mean much. However, such hits could do wonders for these players’ confidence. Maybe something like this could motivate a player like Boog Powell a little bit more, or on the other side, perhaps this is a story that Alec Sole will tell his grandkids if his career doesn’t go as planned. Stuff like this may be the coolest part of the spring training.

In terms of the major leaguers in the game, Kevin Kiermaier went 2 for 3 with a triple and an RBI in the game. We know that Kiermaier can turn singles into doubles with his hustle, and the same holds true of his ability to turn gappers from doubles into triples. Steven Souza went 1 for 3 with a bunt single and a run scored, showing off a different side of his game, while Jake Elmore went 1 for 2 with an opposite-field line drive single and a run scored.

The win takes the Rays to 15-12-2 this spring, and it will end tomorrow. The Rays will take on the Tigers once again, this time at Tropicana Field, at 12:35 PM. Both Erasmo Ramirez and Matt Andriese are set to pitch for the Rays.

Next: A Final Prediction for Tampa Bay Rays' Opening Day Roster