The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park. The win improved the Rays record to 15-7 this spring in Grapefruit League action.
Tampa Bay took the lead in the home half of the first inning. Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist delivered back to back singles to get things started. BJ Upton struck an RBI single to left, scoring Crawford and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.
The Twins tied the game in the second inning. Jason Kubel hit a solo home run to center field to tie the game 1-1.
The Rays would regain the lead in the home half of the third inning. Zobrist drew a walk then later advanced into scoring position by stealing second. Upton drove home his second run of the game with an RBI double to score Zobrist and give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
The Rays increased the lead in the fourth inning. Sean Rodriguez double to center field with one out to put a runner on. Rodriguez then scored on an RBI single by Nevin Ashley to increase the lead to 3-1.
The Twins battled back to tie the game in the seventh inning. Jason Kubel led off the inning with a single to center field. Delmon Young then cleared the bases with a two run homer to left to tie the game 3-3.
But the Rays took back the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ashley reached on an error to lead off the inning then later advanced to second on a ground out by Elliot Johnson. Reid Brignac plated the go ahead run with a single to right that scored Ashley. Rashad Eldridge drove home an insurance run with a sacrifice bunt to score Brignac and give the Rays the 5-3 margin of victory.
David Price pitched 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk in the no decision. Mike Ekstrom picked up his third win of the spring by pitching 2 shut-out innings and allowing 3 hits and striking out three. Lance Cormier earned the save with a no hit ninth recording a strikeout in the process.
RP Prospect Watch:
Reid Brignac: 1 for 1 with an RBI and a run scored.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (15-7) travel to Dunedin to face a split squad of the Toronto Blue Jays (9-9). Wade Davis will get the start followed by Andy Sonnanstine and Lance Cormier.