Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater. [Edmund D. Fountain, Times]
Update 3:27 pm The Rays lose 4-2 to the Phils. They got a good outing from RHP Matt Garza, who threw six innings (and just 86 pitches). Evan Longoria hit another homer (his third of the spring). But the story of the day was Phils LHP Cole Hamels, who carried a perfect game into the fifth inning and was, as manager Joe Maddon said, "as good as I've seen him."
Phils 4, Rays 2 (FINAL)
Update 2:37 pm Garza got an inning-ending double play to get through the sixth. Other than a shaky first inning - and a mistake on a pitch to Geoff Jenkins (two run homer), the righthander has done well. Though he gave up four runs, he stretched out through six innings, throwing just 86 pitches. He had good command of his curve and slider, and feels "ready to go."
Phils 4, Rays 1 (through six)
Update 2:20 pm The Phils tack on another insurance run in the fifth thanks to some aggressive baserunning by Rollins. Rollins, trying to stretch a single into a double, made a crafty slide into second (spikes-low, of course) just as SS Reid Brignac tried to apply the tag. Rollins popped the ball loose into the outfield, advancing to third.
He then scored on a sac fly by Victorino.
Phils 4, Rays 1 (after five)
Update 2:08 pm What a way to break up a perfect game. Rays 3B prospect Evan Longoria ripped a solo homer over the leftfield fence - his third of the spring - breaking up a perfect game by Phils LHP Cole Hamels.
Hamels was in his fifth inning of no-hit ball before Longoria crushed his 0-2 pitch.
With the decision on whether to keep Longoria in the bigs (or back in Triple-A) likely to come this week, Longoria is definitely gonna try to make the Rays brass think about it.
Phils 3, Rays 1
Update 2:00 pm Phillies RF Geoff Jenkins just ripped a two-run homer off Garza with one out in the fourth, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead over the Rays.
Update 1:45 pm Sorry, wireless isn't cooperating here. Garza settled down in the second inning, getting the Phils down 1-2-3. And after allowing the always dangerous Jimmy Rollins to reach first, he got Victorino to fly out to Crawford in the third.
Update 1:16 pm After putting together strong back-to-back outings, RHP Matt Garza is having some control issues in the first inning. With one out, Shane Victorino hit a grounder right back to Garza, who threw the ball into the stands past the Rays dugout (probably slipped). Then, after a wild pitch, he walked Utley, leading to Howard's sacrifice fly.
Phillies 1, Rays 0
The Rays will start a home-and-home series of sorts with the Phillies today at Bright House Field in Clearwater.
But before they headed out, the Rays offered a little bit of news:
*INF Ben Zobrist, nursing a broken left thumb, got his cast off Monday - a week ahead of schedule - and said he feels he'll be ready for Opening Day. The organization had originally said Zobrist would be out a month, which would kick into the beginning of the regular season (and potentially lead to a short DL stint).
But Zobrist, who was successfully being groomed for the super utility role, said he's hoping he could get into one of the Rays last spring training games, late next week. The key, he said, is when he gets the split off his left thumb, and finds how how much pain (if any) there is when he catches a ball.
*Ace LHP Scott Kazmir said he feels "great," but is still unsure when he's going to throw his next bullpen session. Kazmir plans to play catch today, but will follow the organization's plan of being cautious with his rehab of a left elbow strain; he just wants to continue to build his arm strength. Though Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Sunday Kazmir seems likely to open the season on the disabled list, Kazmir said Tuesday he hopes to start season on the back of the rotation (putting his first potential start in New York).
Kazmir said after throwing his first live batting practice last Thursday, he felt he was ready to go for his scheduled Sunday start. But after he felt a little soreness Friday ("good soreness"), and watching what happened to LHP Brian Anderson (who suffered a career ending elbow injury last week), he decided it was best to take it easy.
*RHP Calvin Medlock has been optioned to Triple-A Durham.
RHP Matt Garza will make the start today for the Rays, coming off two impressive outings. The Phillies send LHP Cole Hamels.
-- JOE SMITH