Rays, Reds and Easter
Update 4:28 pm The Rays take the lead back in the ninth, thanks to back-to-back doubles by C Shawn RIggans and SS Reid Brignac.
Rays 10, Reds 9
Update 4:12 pm Don't call it a comeback. The Rays got something going in the top of the eighth, with Gomes hitting his third homer of the spring to cut the lead to one. Then Elliot Johnson came through with an RBI double, scoring Bannon, who raced from first and made a nice slide under the tag at home plate.
With the lead run on third base and two outs, Evan Longoria struck out swinging to end the threat.
Rays 9, Reds 9
Update 3:58 pm The Rays six-run lead is no more.
Troy Percival just gave up a three-run homer to Valentin, with put the Reds up 9-7. The Reds, with many of their subs in, put up an impressive, seven-run rally against Percival, one of the game's top closers.
Percival had come into the game with a pretty short - and strong - spring, having 1-2-3 innings in three of his first four outings. But this time, he was a little off, and some of the Reds batters made him pay.
Reds 9, Rays 7
Update 3:47 pm Closer Troy Percival entered the game in the seventh. The veteran righthander had 1-2-3 innings in three of his first four appearances this spring.
But this outing isn't going as well. After giving up a walk, he gave up a two-run homer to Andy Phillips. Then a bloop single to right-center. Two stolen bases. Cabrera hit an RBI double to the left corner, and scored moments later on an RBI single.
Don't look now, it's 7-6. Pitching coach Jim Hickey just had a short conference at the mound with Percival, having his first struggles of the spring.
With two outs, Percival then issued a walk. There are runners on first and second with two outs.
Rays 7, Reds 6
Update 3:22 pm Garza is pulled in the sixth after another strong performance. Though he had a few more walks (and hit batters) than he wanted, he worked his way out of bases loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings.
Garza finished giving up two run on five hits. He was replaced by RHP Scott Munter. Both teams are subbing out some of their stars, with Elliot Johnson now in center for Upton, Brignac is at short for Bartlett, and Andy Cannizaro, who has battled a sore back the past week or so, is now in at second base.
Rays 6, Reds 2
Update 2:58 pm Garza loaded the bases in the fifth as well (after a second hit by pitch). That put Ken Griffey up with two outs.
But the Rays defense came up big again, with 1b Carlos Pena snagging a sharp low liner to his left to end the threat.
Rays 6, Reds 1
Update 2:36 pm After loading the bases with nobody out, Garza got Adam Dunn to hit into a double play. The grounder put the Reds on the scoreboard, but put Garza in great position to get out of what could have been a big inning.
Rays 6, Reds 1
Update 2:31 pm After getting out of a slight jam in the third (first and second with one out), Garza is gonna have to battle again in the fourth. The Reds have put runners on first and second with nobody out (thanks to a hit by pitch). Phillips, Dunn and Encarnacion are up next.
Update 2:00 pm The Rays added another run in the second, picking up another couple walks before SS Jason Bartlett hit a sacrifice fly (scoring Upton, who had reached on a fielder's choice).
Rays 6, Reds 0
Update 1:39 pm. RHP Matt Garza was smooth sailing in the first inning, getting the Reds out 1-2-3.
Update 1:20 pm Cueto's first inning is turning into some big trouble. Having already walked three, he gave up a two-run double to INF Joel Guzman.
That made it 5-0 Rays. When Cueto fell behind 2-0 to Rays RHP Matt Garza, you could hear a heckler from behind the plate:
"Come on Johnny, it's the pitcher."
It didn't help. Garza walked on four pitches.
Rays 5, Reds 0
Update 1:15 The Rays got off to a big start off Reds prospect RHP Johnny Cueto. Aki doubled to left-center, and after Crawford walked, Carlos Pena ripped a three-run homer over the wall in left-center.
That's two opposite field hits for the Rays, something that Maddon has harped on doing all spring.
CF B.J. Upton, in the lineup for the first time since suffering a left triceps bruise last Thursday, grounded out in his first at-bat.
Rays 3, Reds 0
The Rays are going through their pre-game work at Progress Energy Park in St. Petersburg before leaving for Sarasota and though the skies are clearing, the field is too wet so they will hit in the batting cages. Most of the regulars are making the trip to play the Reds, with Cliff Floyd the only position player not going. It doesn't appear there will be any cuts this morning, which should make Monday a busy day. B.J. Upton is back in the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch on Thursday, and the Rays continue to explore their options with Joel Guzman starting at third and Eric Hinske in right.
While Troy Percival and Al Reyes are scheduled to work in relief, Dan Wheeler, Gary Glover and Trever Miller are throwing in a 10 a.m. game at the Rays minor-league complex in St. Petersburg.
The Rays lineup: