Nate Karns Sharp Against Blue Jays A-Team In Rays 5-4 Victory
Jerry Sands delivered a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Nate Karns who is still in the competition for the fifth spot in the Rays rotation made his Grapefruit League debut against what is to be expected to be the Blue Jays opening day lineup. Karns held the Blue Jays off the scoreboard in his 3.1 innings of work allowing just three hits striking out one and walking one.
Mark Lowe entered the game and gave up a double to Brett Lawrie and a single to Adam Lind to put runners at the corner but got out of the jam by striking out Colby Rasmus and retiring Erik Kratz on a ground out. He remained in the game and worked a perfect fifth inning including a pair of strikouts and came out to begin the sixth inning to face Jose Bautista who sent a hard grounder to Hak-Ju Lee who was unable to field it cleanly and was charged with an error.
Josh Lueke was called into the game and was set to face the heart of the Blue Jays order. For Lueke, who is out of options, this was an opportunity to impress manager Joe Maddon and the staff by protecting the Rays 4-0 lead.
Things got off to a rough start as the first batter he faced Edwin Encarnacion cut the lead in half with a two-run homer. After the homer he walked Adam Lind, allowed a single to Brett Lawrie, and a RBI double to Colby Rasmus which cut the lead to 4-3. Erik Kratz followed with a RBI groundout to tie the game at 4-4.
To Lueke’s credit he came back in the seventh inning and worked a 1-2-3 frame before giving way to C.J. Riefenhauser who worked two scoreless frames retiring all six batters he faced.
The Rays offense had eight hits on the afternoon including a pair by Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Moore. Both Jeremy Moore and Jerry Sands connected for homers. Moore’s home run was a blast over the batters eye in center field and Sands homer proved to be the game winner.
Tampa Bay Rays (7-3) 5, Toronto Blue Jays (6-7) 4
March 12, 2014
BATTING 2B: Nix, J (2, Stroman). HR: Moore (3, 4th inning off Stroman, 0 on, 0 out), Sands (3, 9th inning off Jenkins, 0 on, 2 out). RBI: Jennings, D (5), Moore (4), Lee, H (3), Sands (6). GIDP: Joyce, Solis. Team RISP: 3-for-7. Team LOB: 3.BASERUNNING SB: Jennings, D (2), Moore (1).FIELDING E: Betemit (1), Lee, H (1). DP: (Nix, J-Rodriguez, S-Betemit).
Team ER: off Tampa Bay 3, off Toronto 5. BB: off Karns (Bautista), Lueke (Lind), off Stroman (Zobrist), Romero, R 2 (Forsythe, Nix, J). SO: by Karns (Rasmus, C), Lowe, M 3 (Rasmus, C, Reyes, Cabrera, Me), Lueke 2 (Diaz, J, Sierra), Riefenhauser (Thole), by Stroman 3 (Zobrist, Rodriguez, S, Betemit), Romero, R 3 (Solis, Zobrist, Belnome). Umpires: HP: Vic Carapazza. 1B: Phil Cuzzi. 2B: Mark Carlson. 3B: Seth Buckminster. Official Scorer: Mal Romanin. Weather: 69 degrees, partly cloudy. Wind: 8 mph, R to L. T: 2:42. Att: 5,520. Venue: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. March 12, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media; Copyright by MLB Office of the Commissioner