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Rays-Reds in Al Lang finale




Reds first baseman Scott Hatteberg, 21, got Andy Cannizaro out at first on a grounder for the last out at Al Lang Field.  [James Borchuck, Times]

Update 4:11 p.m
Closer Troy Percival came in for his first ninth inning situation of the spring, and like his last outing, it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. Percival threw strikes, but the Reds got a few hits (and one run) off of him.

Reds 6, Rays 3 (FINAL)

Update 3:52 p.m The Reds pulled ahead on a suicide-squeeze bunt by Hairston, then got an insurance run in the eighth when Adam Dunn crushed an Al Reyes pitch, hitting it over the 400-foot marker in centerfield.

Reds 5, Rays 3

Update 3:11 p.m Garza's outing is over after five, likely due to a pitch count. With most of the Rays starters, the club has scaled back their last outing as they prepare for the regular season. Garza had an overall pretty good outing. He looked strong in certain parts, and though he let leadoff hitters get on board, he worked his way out of things well. The only runs he gave up were due to a two-out error in the outfield.

The right-hander had a strong spring, and will make his first regular season Rays start next Wednesday in Baltimore. We'll chat with him soon and bring you his thoughts on the outing.

RHP Dan Wheeler came in for the sixth, giving up two extra base hits (leading to a run) but settling down after that.

Reds 3, Rays 2

Update 2:53 p.m Crawford continues to have a great day, tacking on another double (this one to right-field).

But for the second time Friday, the Rays couldn't knock in a runner in scoring position with nobody out.

With one out, B.J. Upton nearly had an RBI single up the middle, but Rerds second baseman Brandon Phillips robbed him with a great play, diving to his right, scooping it up and throwing Upton out at first. Then after Pena was retired, Hinske lined out to right, stranding Crawford on third.

Maddon had said earlier this week that the one thing he feels the Rays haven't done well enough this spring is advancing a runner from third with less than two outs. Here's another example he can show.

Rays 2, Reds 2 (top sixth)

Update 2:35 p.m Garza's outing hasn't gone without a few jams. Pitching coach Jim Hickey made a visit to the mound in the fifth as the Reds put runners on first and second. Garza had let the leadoff man reach base in each of the first three innings.

But he usually grinded his way out of things. Until the 5th. With runners on first and second, Garza thought he was out of the inning when Hairston sent a fly ball to right-center. Sure-handed CF B.J. Upton and RF Eric Hinske both made a move on the ball, with Upton looking like he was going to take it.

Must have been a miscommunication, because Upton and Hinske watched the ball drop on the ground between them. Two runs scored.

Rays 2, Reds 2

Update 2:07 p.m The Rays missed out on what could have been a big inning in the third. After Crawford's RBI double, a Pena walk loaded the bases with nobody out.

But Upton, Hinske (pop out) and Gomes (fly out) were retired without any further damage.

Gomes came close. He nearly cleared the bases with a long fly ball to right-center, appearingly destined for the wall. But Hairston raced from his spot in centerfield, making a nice catch right before he slammed into the wall.

Rays 2, Reds 0

Update 1:57 p.m. Carl Crawford nearly racked up another triple. The speedy leftfielder hit a ball off the rightfield wall, and was rounding second when he stopped on a dime (cause Aki was still standing on third). The double scored a run, and now - after a Pena walk - that loads the bases for B.J. Upton with nobody out.

Rays 2, Reds 0

Update 1:37 p.m. RHP Matt Garza has done pretty well during the first two innings, with the only thing being he's allowed the leadoff batter each inning to reach base (hit, walk, hit). The hard-throwing righthander, slated the No. 2 starter with Kazmir out, said after his last start that he felt ready for the season, and it looks like it right now.

Rays 1, Reds 0

Update 1:21 p.m. 1B Carlos Pena came oh-so-close to his sixth homer of the spring. In the first inning, Pena hit a drive off Reds closer Francisco Cordero which bounced off the tip of the wall near the rightfield foul pole.

It turned into a really-long single, but Crawford (who had stole second) scored.

Rays 1, Reds 0

Update 1:10 p.m. INF Joel Guzman, still a potential starter at third for opening day (if Aybar isn't ready), got plenty of action in the first.

Hairston led off with a bunt down the third base line. Guzman charged, barehanded it but couldn't throw out the speedy centerfielder at first. Then, two batters later, Cabrera hit a grounder to Guzman, who handled it well.

Aybar participated in this morning's workout at the Trop, and looked pretty good; he didn't seem to favor the sore left hamstring at all. Manager Joe Maddon said today Aybar will get some more work at the minor league complex, and the team will get a better feel for him making the expected opening day start.

It's kind of an odd scene this morning - lots of media and staffs scurrying around in preparation for the festivities and ceremony of the final spring training game in St. Petersburg - but no Rays as the team is working out instead at Tropicana Field to get used to the turf and background and things like that.

No roster moves this morning, but there's a chance it could be a long day, as the Rays get down to, or close, to the 25-man limit in advance of the 3 p.m. Sunday deadline. Also, 3B Willy Aybar went to the Trop for the workout, but still no indication he's ready to play in a big-league exhibition as the Rays protect the option to backdate a move to the DL if necessary.

*One other bit of news, is that ace LHP Scott Kazmir said he may throw a bullpen Sunday, with Maddon saying the lefty felt really good. If he does throw, it'll be his first work from the mound in 17 days...

The lineup for today's game:
Iwamura, 2b
Crawford, lf
Pena, 1b
Upton, cf
Hinske, rf
Gomes, dh
Navarro, c
Guzman, 3b
Bartlett, ss

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]


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