Minnesota at Tampa Bay

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Minnesota (7-10)0000000224100
Tampa Bay (14-4) «00003020x5111

Longoria, Ramos lead Rays to 5-4 win over Twins


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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) Evan Longoria hit a two-run double and Cesar Ramos looked sharp on the mound, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay improved to 14-4-2 this spring, the best record in the Grapefruit League. The Rays have allowed 69 runs, fewest in the majors.

Ramos, trying to win the fifth spot in the rotation, struck out six in 4 2-3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and a walk, throwing 64 pitches before giving way to Grant Balfour.

''Honestly, I have to say it's the best I've ever seen him pitch,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said, ''and I'm not just talking about the results with the zeros. The quality of pitches, the repetition of delivery - I'm really impressed with that.''

Ramos was a key left-handed arm out of the bullpen in 2013, but jumped at the chance to become a starter and impressed Thursday with a fourth-inning strikeout of Joe Mauer.

''I have to go out there and pitch the best I can because it's out of my control. If my role is better suited in the bullpen, then so be it and there you go,'' Ramos said. ''Hopefully I made it a tough decision.''

Jake Odorizzi, one of three Rays pitchers competing for the final rotation slot, took over in the sixth. He allowed four runs - three earned - and six hits in four innings.

Erik Bedard is also in the running for the No. 5 job. He will make his start Friday against Toronto, and Maddon said a decision could come as early as Saturday.

Scott Diamond, competing with Samuel Deduno and Kyle Gibson for Minnesota's last rotation spot, pitched 4 1-3 innings before walking the bases loaded. Brian Duensing gave up an RBI groundout to Ben Zobrist and the opposite-field double by Longoria.

Diamond was charged with three runs and five hits. He walked three.

''I don't know if it's enough,'' Diamond said. ''I can't make that decision. That's for them to decide.''

STARTING TIME

Twins: Diamond was bothered by the way his outing ended.

''Four innings of good ball and then the walks were poor,'' he said. ''Overall, I can't say I'm disappointed with it because it was progress from the last start. Other than that fifth inning, I've got to be pretty happy with it.''

Rays: Ramos was aided by good defense, including a barehanded pickup by Longoria at third base, a nice double play started by shortstop Yunel Escobar, and a sliding catch by Desmond Jennings in center field.

Ramos also threw about 20 extra pitches in the bullpen to simulate an 80-pitch outing.

COBB'S CONCERNS

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb watched in disbelief, as well as horror.

It took until Thursday morning, but Cobb finally saw the replay of Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman getting hit in the face with a line drive Wednesday night against Kansas City in a Cactus League game.

Chapman had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries. Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said Chapman could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks, a timetable that could get him back in games in late May.

Cobb can relate after missing two months last year when he suffered a concussion after being struck in the head by a line drive during a game at Tropicana Field.

''I can't believe it's already happened again,'' Cobb said. ''I wouldn't say I was naive to the fact that it wouldn't happen again, but this quickly is pretty amazing.''

Cobb said he's frustrated with the slow progress on Major League Baseball's development of a protective cap for pitchers, saying it seems ''like a gimmick.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: Outfielder Matt Joyce received treatment for a stiff neck and is out of the lineup until at least Saturday. ... Relief pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo threw 35 pitches to batters in what Maddon called ''glorified BP.'' It was Oviedo's first action since arriving at camp. Maddon said Oviedo could start the season on the disabled list.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Minnesota

P. Florimon
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brian Dozier, 2B3000011 .229
   Eduardo Escobar, 2B2011012 .300
Kurt Suzuki, C3000010 .231
   Dan Rohlfing, C2011002 .200
Joe Mauer, 1B3000020 .286
   Chris Colabello, 1B1000001 .387
Josh Willingham, LF2000110 .074
   Wilkin Ramirez, LF1000001 .276
Jason Kubel, DH3020010 .143
   a-Deibinson Romero, PH-DH1100000 .318
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4000014 .229
Oswaldo Arcia, RF3000021 .290
   Jason Bartlett, RF1110000 .071
Aaron Hicks, CF4140000 .375
Pedro Florimon, SS3112102 .125
Scott Diamond, P0000000 .000
   Brian Duensing, P0000000 .000
   Ryan Pressly, P0000000 .000
   Matt Hoffman, P0000000 .000
   Aaron Thompson, P0000000 .000
Totals364104210  
a-grounded out for Kubel in the 9th
Batting
2B - Aaron Hicks (3, Ramos)
RBI - Eduardo Escobar (8), Dan Rohlfing (1), Pedro Florimon 2 (2)
SB - Pedro Florimon (1, 2nd base off Odorizzi/Acosta)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Florimon-Dozier-Mauer
PB - Kurt Suzuki (1)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Scott Diamond (L,1-1) 4.1533310 5.79
Brian Duensing 0.2100000 6.23
Ryan Pressly 1100030 6.14
Matt Hoffman 1322010 3.60
Aaron Thompson 1100000 1.50
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 32-19, Brian Duensing 3-3, Ryan Pressly 10-10, Matt Hoffman 8-8, Aaron Thompson 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 9-2, Brian Duensing 1-1, Matt Hoffman 1-1, Aaron Thompson 1-2
Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 20, Brian Duensing 3, Ryan Pressly 4, Matt Hoffman 6, Aaron Thompson 4
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF2110110 .387
   Cole Figueroa, SS2000001 .182
James Loney, 1B2100101 .393
   Jayson Nix, 3B1000000 .241
Ben Zobrist, 2B3011001 .450
   Jerry Sands, 1B1110000 .324
Evan Longoria, 3B3012001 .281
   Justin Christian, CF1111000 .192
Logan Forsythe, LF3000001 .258
   Ray Olmedo, 2B1011000 .313
Yunel Escobar, SS3020010 .433
   Willie Argo, RF1000011 .000
Sean Rodriguez, RF3020001 .273
   Ariel Soriano, LF1000000 .000
Ryan Hanigan, C2100111 .273
   Mayo Acosta, C1010000 .333
Brandon Guyer, DH4000013 .303
Cesar Ramos, P0000000 .000
   Grant Balfour, P0000000 .000
   Jake Odorizzi, P0000000 .000
Totals34511535  
Batting
2B - Jerry Sands (5, Hoffman), Evan Longoria (1, Duensing), Ray Olmedo (1, Hoffman)
RBI - Ben Zobrist (6), Evan Longoria 2 (6), Justin Christian (3), Ray Olmedo (4)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria 2 (5), Justin Christian (2), Ray Olmedo (3)
SB - Sean Rodriguez (3, 2nd base off Pressly/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Zobrist-Loney, Escobar-Zobrist-Loney-Figueroa-Olmedo-Sands
E - Jayson Nix (3, Misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Cesar Ramos 4.2400160 2.63
Grant Balfour (W,2-0) 0.1000010 12.27
Jake Odorizzi (S,2) 4643130 3.75
Pitches-Strikes - Cesar Ramos 33-29, Grant Balfour 3-3, Jake Odorizzi 29-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cesar Ramos 3-4, Jake Odorizzi 5-4
Batters Faced - Cesar Ramos 18, Grant Balfour 1, Jake Odorizzi 19
Game Information
Attendance - 4679
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Toby Basner, First Base - Mark Ripperger, Second Base - A.J. Johnson, Third Base - Shaun Lampe