Game called: Rays win 6-4 in 5 innings
Phillies' third baseman Wes Helms waits on a throw from the outfield as Rays' Jason Bartlett slides safely into the bag. [Joseph Garnett, Jr., Times]
Update 2:40: Mother Nature has been kind to the Rays twice in one week. The steady rain turned to storms in the fifth inning Thursday, and with the Rays up 6-4, the game was called and the grounds crew took over.
Tampa Bay and Philadelphia will meet again Friday at Progress Energy Park (1:05 p.m.). To make up for the lost time, and get some pitchers more work, the teams will play an extra 3-4 innings after the scheduled game. No extra charge.
The Rays are now 5-1.
Update 2:28: In a game of big hits, Phils 2B Chase Utley delivered one of his own in the bottom of the fifth. After NL MVP Jimmy Rollins doubled, Utley hit a 2-run homer off the tip of the leftfield wall to bring the Phils within 6-4.
Update 2:20 With one swing from Carlos Pena, the Rays are now up 6-2. Pena took a 3-2 delivery from Chad Durbin and sent it over the leftfield fence, scoring Crawford (who had tripled to start the fifth). That's six extra base hits so far for the Rays, who are roughing up two pitchers who are competing for the Phils No. 5 spot in the rotation (Durbin and Adam Eaton).
The rain is starting to come down a little bit harder now, with gray clouds overhead.
Rays 6, Phils 2.
Coming into pitch in the bottom of the fifth is RHP Grant Balfour.
Update 2:08 Percival - pitching what he said was his first spring training game in three years - got his first out on one pitch, a pop-out to third, then struck out Wes Helms for the second out. And he made it efficient by retiring Chris Coste on a popup to shallow right.
Update 2:03 Troy Percival is coming in to make his Rays debut in the bottom of the foutth. Shields went three innings, allowing runners in each inning and six hits overall (though no walks). He did strand two on third and the Rays lead 4-2.
Update 1:50: Philadelphia's Chris Coste hit a two-run homer off James Shields in the second, but the Rays still lead 4-2, adding a run thanks to Jason Bartlett's triple.
Update 1:20: The Rays take a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to three extra-base hits, including a leadoff homer by Akinori Iwamura. Carl Crawford and Jonny Gomes added doubles off RHP Adam Eaton, who is battling for the fifth spot in the Phils rotation.
Update 1:09: Akinori Iwamura didn't waste much time in his first at-bat, drilling an 0-1 delivery over the leftfield wall for his first homer of the spring, putting the Rays up 1-0.
The next batter, Carl Crawford, took Eaton deep as well. This time, though, it bounced off the centerfield wall for a double.
The Rays and Phillies boast many regulars in their lineups, so this should be a good one. On the mound, it's RHP James Shields vs RHP Adam Eaton, battling for that fifth spot in the rotation
-- JOE SMITH