Tampa Bay Rays Jeff Niemann went a full 6 innings on Sunday as starters continue to stretch for the regular season. Allowing 8 hits and 4 runs, Niemann pitched well until the third inning, where he allowed consecutive doubles to start the inning.
A wild 6th inning, capped by Justin Ruggiano’s 3-run home run (his first), which gave the Rays an 8-7 lead. Unfortunately, bullpen candidate Mike Ekstrom continued his Spring Training woes, allowing two runs in the 9th inning, enough to give the Orioles a final lead.
On a positive note, Ben Zobrist hit his first triple of the spring, ironically somewhat showing more power than the Rays need in the lead off spot. Evan Longoria went 2 for 2 with a walk, and Reid Brignac also added 2 hits (both singles).
Pitching for the Rays, only Cesar Ramos and Jake McGee had scoreless appearances, with a good deal of damage coming from Adam Russell — who managed only 1 out despite allowing 3 runs.
The Rays are scheduled to take on the New York Yankees tomorrow, starting at 7:05 pm EST as Spring Training enters its final two weeks.