Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tampa Bay Rays Unable to Stop Rally by Toronto Blue Jays, Lose Fourth Straight

The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays rallied back from a three run deficit to take the lead, but could not contain a late game rally by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays gave up two runs in the ninth to lose the game 5-4, dropping their fourth game in a row. Dan Johnson made his case for the starting first base slot by going 2 for 3 with a double, triple, 2 RBI's and 2 runs scored.

The Blue Jays jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the second inning. Juan Rivera doubled to left with one out to put a runner in scoring position. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a two run homer to clear the bases. The next batter, JP Arencibia, drew a walk. He then advanced to second on an errant pick-off throw by David Price. Price issued another walk to Anthony Gose and ball four was wild, allowing Arencibia to advance to third. A ground ball by Mike McCoy scored Arencibia to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.

The Rays got a run back in the top of the fourth. Johnson tripled to right with two outs to put a runner on base. Felipe Lopez drove home the run with an RBI single to short, pulling the Rays to within two runs of the lead.

The Rays then posted a three run inning in the top of the sixth to take the lead. Reid Brignac singled to left to lead off the inning. Ben Zobrist followed with a ground-rule double to but two runners in scoring position. Then Johnson knocked home two runs with a double to right, scoring Brignac and Zobrist. Johnson would later score on a single by Joe Inglett to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.

The Rays held onto the lead until the home half of the ninth inning. Darin Mastroianni led off the inning with a single to center. Mastroianni then stole second and Ryan Budde drew a walk to put another runner on the bases. Jacob Marisnick moved the runners closer to home with a sac bunt, advancing all runners one base. Then it was a single to left by Jonathan Diaz to score both Mastroianni and Budde to give the Rays the 5-4 loss.

Richard De Los Santos was charged with the loss and a blown save. David Price made the start and allowed 3 runs on 2 hits with a strikeout and 2 walks in 2 innings pitched. Wade Davis made his spring debut, pitching a no-hit inning. Jonah Bayliss and Brandon Gomes also pitched no-hit innings while Adam Russell and Chris Bootcheck pitched shut-out innings.

RP Top Prospect Watch:
Tim Beckham: 0 for 1.
Brandon Guyer: 0 for 1.
Desmond Jennings: 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

A Look Ahead: The Rays (1-4) return home to Charlotte Sports Park to host the division rival New York Yankees (2-3). James Shields (0-0, 9.00) will start for the Rays against Freddy Garcia (0-0, 0.00) for the Yankees.

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