The Tampa Bay Rays (1-4) finally got their bats working as they defeated the New York Yankees (2-3) Wednesday afternoon, knocking Hiroki Kuroda (L, 0-1) around for 3 ER in 2 IP.
SP James Shields (W, 1-0) got the start for the Rays and pitched an immaculate pair of innings. His line: 2 IP, 2 SO, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER and 1 ground ball. RP Burke Badenhop (H, 1), acquired from the Miami Marlins this offseason, followed up with two strong innings, collecting two strikeouts and four ground outs en route to another scoreless pair of innings. RP Josh Lueke (H, 1) followed with another scoreless, hitless two innings, grabbing three ground outs in the process.
The Rays hitters struck out 11 times and walked only once, but they also went a collected 10 for 34 with a strong performance from C/OF Stephen Vogt, starting at DH. Vogt went 3 for 3 and knocked in three runs in the second inning on a triple slashed to right field. The Rays added another run off RHP Adam Warren after a pair of singles and a perfect sacrifice bunt from Jose Molina.
In the sixth inning, the Rays loaded the field with prospects, as is typical for Spring Training, but what is not typical is that the Rays put two of their top prospects -- SS Tim Beckham at SS Hak-Ju Lee -- on the field at the same time. The 22-year-old Beckham took second base while the 21-year-old Lee manned short. Both players looked good at their positions, and in the top of the ninth, they combined for a smooth double play combination.
The expectation heading into 2012 was that Lee would play in Double-A while Beckham would start at Triple-A, but today's intriguing usage may foreshadow both players at the same level sometime in 2012.
Catch the Rays on Thursday afternoon, when they take on the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers in split squad action.
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