Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays hit three homers in 8-8 game with Orioles

SARASOTA — The Rays and Orioles broke out their bats in Sunday afternoon's 8-8 tie at Ed Smith Stadium.

The teams combined for five home runs, including grand slams by the Rays' Steven Souza Jr. and the Orioles' Pedro Alvarez. Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison also homered for the Rays (8-9-1). For Souza, Longoria and Morrison, it was their first home runs of the spring.

"I'm continuing to build," Morrison said. "Felt like I've been swinging it well over the last week or so. I've been taking my line drives the other way. I've been getting the (bat) head out."

Morrison got three at-bats before being taken out in the fifth inning. He doubled in the first inning, homered over the centerfield wall in the third and got an infield single in the fifth. He was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, which he said probably wouldn't have happened even if he had stayed in the game.

"The only way is if they blew a hamstring," said Morrison, who is 6-foot-2, 240.

Souza and Longoria have been quiet at the plate this spring. Souza was hitting .125 before Sunday's game. Longoria was hitting .217.

AFTER CUBA: The Rays aren't going to waste any time once they return from Cuba. They will fly home after Tuesday's game against the Cuban National Team and play the Twins in Fort Myers on Wednesday. Because of the quick turnaround, Rays manager Kevin Cash said he will likely hold off on any roster moves until Saturday or Sunday.

"That's because we have a lot of games stacked up when we get back," he said. "We've got day games followed by night games, so we're going to need a lot of players."

Another focus for Cash after Cuba is getting his team ready for opening day.

"We've got to start getting guys more innings, three or four at-bats a game," Cash said. "We will be much less scripted in games."

SMYLY PITCHES INTRASQUAD GAME: LHP Drew Smyly stayed in Port Charlotte and threw 86 pitches in an intrasquad game. He pitched six innings and allowed four hits, struck out four and walked one. Smyly gave up doubles to Richie Shaffer and Mikie Mahtook and singles to Curt Casali and Desmond Jennings.

"It was fun," Smyly said. "I think it was exciting for all of us, with bragging rights on the line. It was good practice for all of us. (I faced) mostly righties, so they got a good look at the type of lefty they're going to face in the season. And most lineups I face are going to be mostly righties. They were all major-league hitters, so it was fun facing them. I felt good."

Smyly said his next spring start will approach 100 pitches.

HAPPY WITH SHORTSTOPS: Among the things he has seen this spring, Cash said he has been impressed with the talent at shortstop. Minor-leaguer Willy Adames has looked smooth in the nine innings he has played, according the Cash.

"He makes the difficult plays look routine," Cash said.

And there are several other talented players ahead of him.

"We're pretty stacked up at that position," Cash said. "From the guys we have in the big leagues like (Brad) Miller, Beck (Tim Beckham), (Nick) Franklin, (Andrew) Velazquez, on down. There is a lot of talent there in this organization."

GAME DETAILS: Rays RHP Jhan Marinez got roughed up in his first start of the spring. He lasted 12/3 innings and allowed five hits, including the grand slam by Alvarez in the second inning. He also had a balk and a hit batter. It was Marinez's fifth appearance this spring. … Marinez was not the only Rays pitcher to struggle. RHP Kyle McPherson gave up five hits, including a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo, in 21/3 innings. … The teams combined for 22 hits (11 each).

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