The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Mets 4-2 on Friday night at Tropicana Field. The contest was the last spring training game to be played against a major league opponent prior to regular season play. Matt Garza threw five scoreless innings in his final spring training appearance.
The Rays took the lead in the second inning. Evan Longoria singled to lead off the inning. Pat Burrell later struck an RBI double to center, scoring Longoria and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Tampa Bay increased the lead in the seventh inning. Gabe Kapler drew a walk then advanced into scoring position on a single by Ryan Royster. Kapler scored on a single by Kelly Shoppach to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
The Rays picked up two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Sean Rodriguez doubled to right to lead off the inning then later scored on a ground ball by Hank Blalock. Blalock was driven home by John Matulia with an RBI single to center that gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead.
The Mets cut the lead in half in the ninth on a two run homer by Mike Jacobs. But the Rays shut the door, holding on for a 4-2 victory and earning win number twenty of the spring.
Garza earned the win, pitching 5 scoreless innings only allowing 1 hit and recording 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. Randy Choate followed with a no hit inning. Matt Gorgen then pitched a shut-out inning allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk. Lance Cormier pitched the final two innings earning the save and surrendering 2 runs on 3 hits with 2 strikeouts.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Reid Brignac: 0 for 2.
Matt Gorgen: no runs, 1 hit, 1 walk in 1 inning pitched.
Shawn O’Malley: 0 for 1.
A Look Ahead: The Rays head north to Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the Spring Training Showdown against the Durham Bulls. Jeff Niemann will start for Tampa Bay and will be facing pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson.