Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay
W: J. Hughes (1-0) L: D. De La Rosa (0-2) S: T. Alderson (1)
HR: TB - B. Zobrist (1)   PIT - S. Welch (1)

Pirates 6, Rays 4


BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Alex Cobb figured out what was wrong in the fourth inning. Things went more smoothly afterward.

Cobb labored early but settled to work into the seventh inning of a Tampa Bay Rays split squad's 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

The Pirates put runners on base in each of the first four innings against Cobb. In the fourth, the Pirates took a 3-1 lead on John McDonald's RBI single and Garrett Jones' sacrifice fly.

"I made it a lot easier on myself after that," Cobb said. "I wasn't getting a good angle on all my pitches. Everything was flat and up. I made an adjustment in my lower half to get the ball down in the zone and get some depth to my pitches."

Cobb gave up three runs on five hits in 6 1-3 innings, walking three and striking out five.

"It was the most comparable (thing) to a real game that I've felt this spring," said Cobb, who's slated for the No. 4 spot in the Rays' rotation. "I went through my challenges with runners on, working through jams, working through my mechanics, figuring things out. It's a different mentality when you go deeper in the game."

Minor leaguer Stefan Welch hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning. Welch, a third baseman who played last season at Double-A, hit a towering shot to right field off Dane De La Rosa. It was Welch's first at-bat in a Grapefruit League game.

In the sixth, the Rays scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Ben Zobrist led off with a homer to left field against reliever Mike Zagurski. Matt Joyce singled and Luke Scott doubled to tie it at 3. Scott scored on Shelly Duncan's double.

Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez worked four innings and allowed one run on three hits. The right-hander walked one and struck out two.

"My release was very good," Gomez said. "Early in the game, I didn't feel as good as I felt in the bullpen. But it got better later in the game."

Gomez is on the fringes of the competition for the No. 5 starter spot, but more likely has a shot at a bullpen job. The right-hander, whom the Pirates acquired via a trade in January, is out of minor league options.

"He held serve today," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "There were some sequences when his fastball command was good and he dotted it up well, but then he'd get behind in some counts. The breaking ball was effective. He didn't give up much. He kept battling. It was a work day for him, but he made some improvements."

NOTES: Pirates INF Brandon Inge was scratched from the lineup. The team said Inge has "lingering discomfort" in his right shoulder blade after being hit by a pitch during a game on March 14. X-rays were negative. ... The Pirates reassigned INFs Ivan De Jesus and Jared Goedert to minor league camp and optioned RHP Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis. That leaves 37 players in camp. ... McDonald reported to camp and started the game Friday at shortstop. The Pirates acquired McDonald on Wednesday in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... Rays OF Sam Fuld (hamstring) was slated to play three innings plus take some extra at-bats Friday in a minor league game. Manager Joe Maddon said Fuld likely will be back in the lineup Monday.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

S. Welch
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
Tampa Bay

L. Scott
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0

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Kelly Johnson, LF3000123 .125
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2B - Luke Scott 2 (6, Gomez, Zagurski), Chris Gimenez (3, Zagurski)
HR - Ben Zobrist (1, Zagurski)
RBI - Ben Zobrist (3), Luke Scott (9), Shelley Duncan (9), Chris Gimenez (5)
SB - Matt Joyce (1, 2nd base off Zagurski/McKenry)
CS - Ryan Roberts (1, 3rd base by Gomez/McKenry)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Roberts-Figueroa-Duncan
Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb 6.1533350 2.81
Dane De La Rosa (H,3; L,0-2) 1.1122120 9.45
Kirby Yates (BS,1) 0.1111001 1.93
WP - Dane De La Rosa (1)
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 10-3
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 26, Dane De La Rosa 6, Kirby Yates 2
Pittsburgh Pirates
Alex Presley, CF3110101 .317
Jose Tabata, LF3000011 .238
    Junior Sosa, CF1000010 .000
Felix Pie, RF3011000 .308
    Brett Carroll, RF1000000 .600
Gaby Sanchez, 1B2000101 .294
    Jeff Larish, LF1110000 .600
Michael McKenry, C3110012 .310
    Lucas May, C0100100 .421
Josh Harrison, 3B3110000 .273
    Stefan Welch, 3B11130001.000
Jordy Mercer, 2B-SS2000110 .375
John McDonald, SS2011001 .267
    Jarek Cunningham, 2B1000010 .000
   a- Garrett Jones, PH0001000 .259
    Alex Dickerson, 1B1000010 .000
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Gomez in the 4th
2B - Alex Presley (4, Cobb), Felix Pie (3, Cobb), Jeff Larish (1, De La Rosa)
HR - Stefan Welch (1, Yates)
SF - Garrett Jones (1)
SH - Jordy Mercer (2)
RBI - Felix Pie (8), Stefan Welch 3 (3), John McDonald (3), Garrett Jones (3)
2-OUT RBI - Felix Pie (3), Stefan Welch 3 (3)
SB - Felix Pie (2, 2nd base off Cobb/Gimenez), John McDonald (1, 2nd base off Cobb/Gimenez)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Mercer-McDonald-McKenry, Mercer-Dickerson
E - Jarek Cunningham (1, Throwing), Alex Dickerson (1, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeanmar Gomez 4311120 6.23
Jason Grilli (H,2) 1100010 3.60
Mike Zagurski (BS,1) 1433101 7.04
Mark Melancon 1000100 1.13
Jared Hughes (W,1-0) 1000020 0.96
Tim Alderson (S,1) 1100020 0.00
HBP - Figueroa (by Jeanmar Gomez)
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeanmar Gomez 7-2, Mike Zagurski 1-1, Mark Melancon 2-0, Jared Hughes 1-0, Tim Alderson 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeanmar Gomez 16, Jason Grilli 4, Mike Zagurski 7, Mark Melancon 3, Jared Hughes 3, Tim Alderson 5
Game Information
Attendance - 6105
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Chad Whitson, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Paul Emmel