RAYS: Pruitt, Beckham shine in spring opener; preview for today’s game

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

RAYS 3, TWINS 1

HITTER OF THE GAME
Tim Beckham, Rays:
 The shortstop looked to be in mid-season form to begin the spring, hitting a leadoff double to start the game. He hit a rocket to straight away center in his only other at-bat for a triple and later came around to score the first run of the night.

PITCHER OF THE GAME
Austin Pruitt, Rays:
 Not much can be read into being named the Spring Training Opening Day starter, but Pruitt looked good in his outing. Two of the three base runners he allowed were due to errors, and he struck out three batters with no walks.

KEY INNING
Top third:
 After Beckham’s leadoff triple to open the frame, Daniel Robertson had an RBI single to knock him in to give the Rays a 1-0 advantage.

PROSPECT WATCH
Casey Gillaspie, Rays: 
Getting the start at first base, Gillaspie had a clean game in the field, but went 0 for 3 with the bat. He had a groundout, flyout and strikeout in his three trips to the plate.

THEY SAID IT
“I’m happy for for Pruitt. Neil told me his dad drove in. That’s pretty cool he got to see that (after) a 16-hour drive.
— Kevin Cash, Rays manager

NOTES

PREGAME FAN FEST
Prior to today’s game against the Pirates, the Rays will host a fan fest beginning at 11 a.m. Fans will have the opportunity to meet and get autographs from pitchers Matt Andriese, Brad Boxberger, Nathan Eovaldi, Jose De Leon and Ryan Garton.

There will also be giveaways, live music, games, face painters, balloon artists and more.

MILLER TIME
Brad Miller was tested three times – on consecutive plays – in his second-base debut for the Rays. The first was a groundball, where he was playing in shallow left field on a shift. The next batter was another ground out from a more traditional location for a second baseman. He was back in the shift on the third play, this time on the shortstop side of second base, and couldn’t get to a rocket of a grounder up the middle.

PRUITT’S START
Austin Pruitt looked pretty good to begin the Rays’ spring on the mound. He retired the first five batters he faced before allowing a two-out single in the second inning. A pair of errors allowed the bases loaded, but he got out of the jam with a strikeout. In total, he tossed 34 pitches (20 strikes) over two innings, while allowing one hit and striking out three batters.

BRINGING THE HEAT
Pitcher Ryne Stanek threw the sixth inning for the Rays, and consistently hit the upper 90s with his fastball, topping out at 99 miles per hour. He occasionally took some off to throw 97, and his off-speed pitches sat between 90 and 92 miles per hour.

TODAY’S GAME

WHO: PITTSBURGH (ss) (0-0) at TAMPA BAY (1-0)

WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH David Carpenter vs. RH Josh Lindblom
PITCHING PROBABLES
RAYS:
 RH David Carpenter (start), LH Dana Eveland, RH Danny Farquhar, RH Cory Rasmus, LH Justin Marks, RH Jaime Schultz, RH Neil Wagner, RH Taylor Guerriei.
PIRATES: RH Josh Lindblom (start), RH Tyler Eppler, LH Dan Runzler, RH Edgar Santana, LH, Jared Lakind, RH Dovydas Neversauskas, LH Cody Dickson.

ON DECK

SUNDAY: vs. Boston, 1:05 p.m. MONDAY: at Philadelphia, 1:05 p.m. TUESDAY: vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. WEDNESDAY: vs. Philadelphia, 1:05 p.m. THURSDAY: at Boston, 1:05 p.m.

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