The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Wednesday at Charlotte Sports Park. Jason Bartlett accounted for three of the runs with two of them coming off solo home runs.
The Blue Jays took the lead in the first inning. Jose Bautista singled to right field to start the game. Jeremy Reed later singled to center, moving to second. Lyle Overbay drove home the run with an RBI single to right, scoring Batista and giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
The Rays battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Jason Bartlett reached on an error to start the inning then moved into scoring position by stealing second. BJ Upton singled to score Bartlett and give and tie the game 1-1.
The Rays took the lead an inning later. Sean Rodriguez and Bartlett delivered back to back singles. Rodriguez would later score on a ground ball by Ben Zobrist to give the Rays the 2-1 lead.
Tampa Bay would increase their lead in the fourth inning. Bartlett delivered a two out solo home run for the first run of the inning. Carl Crawford singled to short then scored on an RBI double by Zobrist to increase the lead to 4-1.
The Blue Jays cut the lead in half in the fifth inning. Aaron Hill drew a walk then was replaced by Brad Emaus on the base path. Overbay later doubled to center, scoring Emaus and pulling the Jays to within two runs of the lead 4-2.
Toronto pulled closer in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Alex Gonzalez. The home run left the Blue Jays one run back from the lead 4-3.
Bartlett provided the Rays with an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run, his second of the game. Both clubs would remain off the scoreboard the remainder of the game and the Rays took the 5-3 victory.
Jeff Niemann recorded is second win of the spring by pitching 5 innings and allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 3 strikeouts and a walk. Rafael Soriano surrendered 1 home run and struck out 2 in an inning worked. Randy Choate pitched a no-hit inning of relief striking out one. Dale Thayer pitched the final 2 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits with 3 strikeouts.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Reid Brignac: 0 for 1 with a strikeout.
Ty Morrison: entered the game in the seventh inning to play right field, made one out in the ninth but saw no plate appearances.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (14-7) will host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Charlotte Sports Park. David Price will make the start with Winston Abreu, Lance Cormier and Heath Phillips available to pitch.