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Rays tie the Pirates 7-7 after 11 innings

The Rays scored four in the eighth to take a 7-3 lead, but couldn't hold on. RHP Joe Nelson was one out away from closing out the victory when he gave up back-to-back homers, a three-run shot by Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez, and a solo shot by Jones.

The game remained tie through the 11th, so the Rays end up with a 7-7 tie with the Pirates. 

3:30: Ray Sadler jumpstarted the Rays offense in the eighth, doubling to lead off, and then stealing third with a headfirst slide.

Elliot Johnson just knocked Sadler in with an RBI single to leftfield to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.

3:22: Balfour got into trouble, then got out of it by striking out Brian Bixler with the bases loaded to preserve the tie.

3:11: Reid Brignac's hefty homer to rightfield tied the game 3-3 in the seventh. Grant Balfour is on the mound for the Rays.

2:49 p.m RHP Dan Wheeler has come in and has had a rough outing so far.

He gave up a one-out homer to to Andy LaRoche here in the seventh, then a triple and hit a batter. The second run scored when the Rays couldn't execute a double play (Reid Brignac's throw to first was wild).

Pirates 3, Rays 2

2:29 p.m. RHP Jason Isringhausen has entered in the sixth for his Rays debut.

Isringhausen, one of the career leaders in saves, has been impressive so far in bullpens following offseason elbow surgery.

Today, Isringhausen had a decent outing, overcoming a rocky start. He gave up a leadoff triple to McCutchen, who ripped the ball to the wall in left-center. Tabata then hit the ball hard to leftfield for a sacrifice fly.

Isringhausen threw 17 pitches, striking out Craig Monroe swinging to end the inning.

2:20 p.m. RHP Troy Percival has come in for the fifth, his second spring outing of the season following offseason back surgery.

Percival worked a quick hitting, striking out Bixler swinging, getting Cruz to pop out.

The veteran closer has looked pretty sharp so far this spring - two quick innings, using both his fastball and offspeed stuff. We'll chat with him in a few minutes.

2:08 p.m. Though LaRoche got on base due to an error by Ensberg (looked like he lost the ball in the sun on an infield popup), Shawn Riggans threw him out trying to steal second to end the inning.

Garza has gone four innings, giving up just three hits.

1:53 p.m. The Rays have a rally going here in the third, with three straight hits (Riggans, Kennedy and Ruggiano) loading the bases with no outs for the heart of the order.

Crawford had an RBI fielder's choice, and Gabe Kapler came up with an RBI single to leftfield. It could have scored two, but Crawford was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second.

Rays 2, Pirates 0

1:31 p.m Garza got out of a little jam in the second, thanks to a nice defensive play by Morgan Ensberg.

Garza gave up a one-out walk and single, putting runners on first and second. After a visit from pitching coach Jim Hickey, Garza got Luis Cruz to line to to Ensberg, who doubled off LaRoche at second.

1:12 p.m. RHP Matt Garza, making his second spring start, has a pretty clean and quick first inning, retiring the side in order, including a strikeout of Adam LaRoche.

The Rays are readying to host the Pirates today. Here is the lineup posted in the Rays clubhouse:

Ruggiano, rf
Crawford, lf
Kapler, cf
Pena, 1b
Burrell, dh
Ensberg, 3b
Brignac, ss
Riggans, c
Kennedy, 2b
Garza, p

And here is the Pirates lineup:

McCutchen, cf
Tabata, lf
Adam LaRoche, dh
Monroe, rf
Pearce, 1b
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Bixler, ss
Cruz, 2b
Jaramillo, c
Gorzelanny, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:45am]


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