Rays 4, Pirates 2
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP)
David Price's third spring start was very similar to his first two.
Tampa Bay's ace had a plan, and stuck to the script.
''I thought I had some good off-speed stuff and that was something I wanted to work on,'' he said. ''My fastball felt good. I threw a lot of two-seams down in the zone. I felt good.''
The 25-year-old left-hander allowed one run and three hits in Tampa Bay's first victory since beating the Pirates in its spring opener on Feb. 26. He threw 60 pitches - exactly what manager Joe Maddon wanted him to hit - including 10 to 12 changeups.
''Whenever I needed a strike with the fastball I was able to get it,'' said Price, who lacked his usual command in his previous game against Toronto. ''That's where I need to be and that's where I was. I'd like to get ahead a little bit more, but I was working on some stuff and it felt pretty good.''
B.J. Upton drove in a run and scored for the Rays, and designated hitter Manny Ramirez went 1 for 3. Matt Bush, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft and a converted shortstop, worked the ninth for the save.
Ross Ohlendorf pitched three innings for Pittsburgh, yielding one run and three hits. He went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA last season, but won his arbitration hearing last month and was awarded a $2,025,000 contract for 2011.
''They were just swinging,'' said Ohlendorf, who included more changeups and sliders in his second spring outing. ''Jaso was a check swing and he's usually really patient. The pitch was probably a little better than he was expecting so he decided at the last minute to swing. I threw strikes, but they swung so it was a combination. It wasn't all my doing.''
Matt Diaz, who signed with Pittsburgh over the winter, hit a two-run homer off Price in the fourth. Diaz is a career .335 hitter against lefties.
The Pirates have scored just two runs in their last 21 innings.
All-Star reliever Evan Meek tossed a scoreless inning for Pittsburgh in his first spring appearance. He had been hampered by a tight right calf.
''Things were a little quick,'' Meek said. ''I found myself just trying to relax, go out and throw strikes, not really focus too much on velocity or anything. I really just wanted to get my work in and get back in the groove of things. It's a good step forward.''