The Game: For the second time in as many days, the Tampa Bay Rays picked up an extra inning victory by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in ten innings on Monday at Charlotte Sports Park. The win was the Rays fifth in a row and improved their spring record to 5-1.
The Rays took the lead in the home half of the first inning. Jason Bartlett led of the inning by drawing a walk. Bartlett moved to second on a ground out by Carl Crawford and then to third on a single by Evan Longoria. Ben Zobrist plated the run with a sac fly to center giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Pittsburgh tied the game in the fourth inning. Jose Tabata delivered a two out triple to right to get a runner in scoring position. Tabata came home a batter later on an RBI single by Pedro Alvarez to tie the game 1-1.
The Pirates took the lead in the seventh inning. Pedro Alvarez led off the inning with a triple to center field. Then Brian Friday struck a two run home run to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Tampa Bay fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. JJ Furmaniak got things going with a single to center. Furmaniak then scored on an RBI double by Matt Joyce. Joyce later scored on an RBI single by Sean Rodriguez to tie the game 3-3 and force extra innings.
The Rays earned the victory in the bottom of the tenth. Joe Dillon led off the inning with a double to left field. Later in the inning, Fernando Perez struck a two out single to right that was deep enough to score Dillon to give the Rays the 4-3 win.
Matt Garza was strong in the start, throwing 3 shut-out innings allowing 3 hits and striking out 5. Lance Cormier followed and allowed 1 run on 2 hits in 2 innings. Jeff Bennett was next on the schedule pitching 2 innings and allowing 2 runs on 2 hits with a walk and a strikeout. Mike Ekstrom pitched a shut-out inning allowing a hit and recording 2 strikeouts. Alex Torres earned the victory, his second of the spring by pitching a scoreless frame allowing 1 hit while striking out and walking 1.
RP Top Prospects Watch:
Reid Brignac: 0 for 2.
John Jaso: 0 for 1 with a walk.
Desmond Jennings: 1 for 3.
Alex Torres: improved to 2-0 by pitching a shut-out inning allowing 1 hit wit 1 K and 1 walk.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (5-1) return to Ed Smith Stadium to play the Baltimore Orioles (1-5) on Tuesday. Jeff Niemann will start for the Rays with Jeremy Hellickson, Carlos Hernandez and Randy Choate also available.