The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees matched up again in a rematch from Thursday, this time the results were in the Rays favor as they took a 6-2 victory on Friday night at Charlotte Sports Park.
The Yankees struck first in the third inning. Brett Gardner singled to short followed by Curtis Granderson getting hit by a pitch. Nick Swisher delivered an RBI single to right, scoring Gardner and giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
New York extended their lead in the fourth inning. Juan Miranda struck a solo home run to increase the Yankee lead to 2-0.
The Rays battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Jason Bartlett drew a walk to lead off the inning. Bartlett later scored on a double by Evan Longoria. Longoria advanced to third on a balk then scored on a ground out by Carlos Pena to tie the game 2-2.
The Rays took the lead in the sixth inning. Longoria singled to the mound with two outs to get thing going. Longo then advanced to second on a while pitch and then to third on a single by Pena. Ben Zobrist plated the go ahead run with an RBI single to right, scoring Longoria and giving the Rays a 3-2 lead.
Tampa Bay added another run in the bottom of the seventh. Hank Blalock drew a walk to lead off the inning. Blalock then stole second and moved to third on a single by Bartlett. Carl Crawford singled to left, scoring Blalock and increasing the lead to 4-2.
The Rays picked up some insurance runs in the eighth inning. Pena drew a walk and was replaced by JJ Furmaniak as a pinch runner. Furmaniak moved to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a fly ball by Sean Rodriguez. Reid Brignac drove Furmaniak home with an RBI single to right. Brignac later scored on an ground ball by Justin Ruggiano to give Tampa Bay the 6-2 margin of victory.
Dan Wheeler pitched a no-hit inning to start, only allowing 1 hit. Jeff Niemann followed with 4 2/3 innings allowing 2 runs n 6 hits with 7 strikeouts and a walk. Mike Ekstrom earned his second win of the spring by pitching 1 1/3 inning and allowing only 1 hit. Joe Bateman pitched a no-hit inning, striking out 2 of the 3 batters faced. Richard De Los Santos pitched the final frame only allowing 1 hit.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Reid Brignac: 1 for 1 with an RBI and a run scored.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (12-4) will take on the Minnesota Twins (7-8) on Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park. David Price will get the start followed by Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier and Randy Choate.