Jake Odorizzi effective into 7th inning as Rays top Pirates split squad

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jake Odorizzi pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Steven Souza Jr. hit a two-run double to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat a Pittsburgh Pirates split squad 3-1 Saturday night.

Pirates left fielder Starling Marte exited in the fourth inning due to tightness in his right quadriceps. Marte stumbled out of the batter’s box in the second.

David Freese homered to left-center, his second home run in seven games since signing with the Pirates.

Francisco Liriano lasted only 4 2-3 innings even though he was scheduled to work six. The left-hander, set to start on opening day for Pittsburgh, gave up three runs and seven hits while striking out four.

Rays 3, Pirates 1

"My last two starts I’ve had a little trouble with fastball location, but I think I’m going to be OK," Liriano said. "Every spring training, I have trouble with fastball location. That’s why we’re here, to work on that kind of stuff."

Christian Toribio hit a solo homer for the Rays.

Odorizzi allowed a run and five hits in 6 1-3 strong innings. He walked two and struck out six. The right-hander has locked up the No. 3 spot in Tampa Bay’s rotation.

FAN INTERFERENCE

A man apparently angered by the Rays’ recent trip to Cuba made his way onto the field and threw a full can of beer into the team’s dugout during the seventh inning.

Nobody was hurt. A member of the Pirates’ grounds crew and Tampa Bay third base coach Charlie Montoyo restrained the protester until police arrived, briefly delaying the game.

"I realized he speaks Spanish, so I was telling him to relax," Montoyo said. "I didn’t hear what he was yelling. He looked old, so I kind of felt bad for him. I was holding him and not trying to tackle him."

From the seats behind third base, the man jumped a short fence and ran onto the grass in front of the Rays’ dugout. According to players and Bradenton police, the man shouted obscenities about the Castro regime in Cuba. He threw a can of beer that smashed into the back wall of Tampa Bay’s dugout.

"Nobody got hit," Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi said. "Maybe some guys got wet."

Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer saw it all unfold from the Pirates’ dugout.

"I just heard a loud boom and I saw beer fly," Mercer said. "You never know what’s going to happen. But law enforcement was on it, which was good. And the Rays players were, too, so they helped out."

The man was arrested and will be charged with causing a fray, trespassing and assault, Bradenton police Lt. John Affolter said.

"I’ve worked games here for 23 years and I’ve never seen anything like it," Affolter said. "I’ve seen a streaker, I’ve seen a lot. I thought I’d seen it all."

STARTING TIME

Rays: It was Odorizzi’s first Grapefruit League start since March 11, although he pitched in two minor league games after that.

Pirates: Liriano will throw two bullpen sessions and then make his next start in the April 3 season opener against the St. Louis Cardinals in Pittsburgh. "I’ve got to keep working on my fastball location and executing pitches," Liriano said. "Other than that, everything is fine."

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: INF Tim Beckham (shin) hopes to be cleared to play Sunday, most likely in an intrasquad game. Beckham has been out since Thursday, when he was hit by a pitch on the leg.

Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco was scratched from the lineup due to right shoulder discomfort. "Just a little sore," Polanco said. "I’ve had this for three years. I’ll be OK for (Sunday)." . CF Andrew McCutchen (tight quad) was cleared by the medical staff and started against the Rays. McCutchen sat out Friday. . 1B Michael Morse (upper right leg) is expected to be out for another couple of days. He was injured while running the bases Thursday. . Elias Diaz remains out of action due to lateral right elbow discomfort, but does not need surgery. "I know that I’m going to be good if I take the time I need to be heathy again," Diaz said. "I don’t need surgery, just rest and treatment." Before the injury, Diaz was on track to open the season as the starting catcher at Triple-A Indianapolis.

UP NEXT

Rays: Manager Kevin Cash will try to use as many players as possible Sunday against Toronto. The Rays also added an intrasquad game. The delayed return from Cuba led to an unscheduled day off last Wednesday and the Rays have a regular off day on Monday, which created a need for extra playing time this weekend.

Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams will be called up from minor league camp to start against Baltimore. RHP Juan Nicasio, who had been slated to face the Orioles, instead will start in a minor league game. Nicasio, who has emerged as a strong candidate for a rotation spot, has not allowed a run in five outings (15 innings) this spring.