Top prospect Jeremy Hellickson had a good start to the day, giving up 2 runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. He ran into some trouble in the 5th inning, but Andy Sonnanstine was able to get the final two outs with only 1 run allowed.
The game turned in the 8th inning, when reliever Cesar Ramos had trouble locating his pitches, walking Derrek Lee and allowing a homer to Vladimir Guerrero. In all, Ramos allowed 3 runs and then got tabbed for 2 more after reliever Sergio Espinosa came in to finish the inning. The late-game, five run outburst gave the Rays, who had by then pulled their starters, little chance of a comeback.
Despite today’s poor results, Cesar Ramos looks like a lock to start the season on the Rays 25 man roster as the team’s LOOGY. His status with the team may depend on the health of J.P. Howell, though, who appears to be ready to return about a month into the season.
On the offensive side of today’s game, Dan Johnson and B.J. Upton both had two-hit days, Johnson collecting a double. Leadoff man Ben Zobrist also knocked a home run in the first at bat of the day, his third homer of the spring.
The Rays will be back in action again tomorrow at 1:05 PM ET.