Friday, March 4, 2011

Tampa Bay Rays Can't Hold Off Late Inning Rally, Fall to Minnesota Twins

The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays dropped a close game to the Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Friday afternoon at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. The Rays battled from three runs down to take the lead in the seventh inning but a late inning surge by the Twins led to the Rays losing their fifth game of the spring.

The Twins scored the first run of the game in the third inning. Tsuyoshi Nishioka reached on a force out to get things going. Nishioka stole second and then scored on an RBI single by Jason Kubel to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.

The Twins increased their lead in the fifth inning. Denard Span and Nishioka delivered back to back singles. Both runners were driven home on an RBI double by Kubel to increase the lead to 3-0.

The Rays battled back to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. They led off the inning with four consecutive singles to get things going. Reid Brignac, BJ Upton, John Jaso and Evan Longoria all recorded hits with Jaso and Longoria getting an RBI each. Jaso would later score on a ground ball by Casey Kotchman to tie the game 3-3.

The Rays took the lead the next inning. Russ Canzler hit a sac fly to center that scored Robinson Chirinos to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.

But they did not hold the lead long as the Twins rallied in the eighth inning. Matt Brown singled to center followed by a walk to Steve Holm. Brown would then score on a single by Ben Revere to tie the game. Chase Lambin drove home the game winning run with a sac fly to score Tolbert and hand the Rays a 5-4 loss.

Alex Cobb was charged with a blown save and the loss for the Rays. Alex Torres pitched 2 shut-out innings allowing just 1 hits and a walk while striking out 2 in the start. Matt Bush pitched a no-hit inning while Rob Delaney and Brian Baker each added a shut-out inning on the mound.

RP Top Prospect Watch:
Robinson Chirinos: 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored.
Alex Cobb: 2 runs on 2 hits with 2 strikeouts and a walk in an inning pitched.
Alex Torres: 2 shut-out innings allowing 1 hit with 2 strikeouts and a walk.

A Look Ahead: The Rays (1-5-1) host the Twins (4-2) for a rematch on Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park. Andy Sonnanstine will start for the Rays facing Nick Blackburn for the Twins. Adam Russell, Chris Bootcheck and Chris Archer are also scheduled to pitch for the Rays.

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