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Rays 4, Pirates 2

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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.

Price pitched four innings and the Rays beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Monday.

''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.

The 28-year-old right-hander handled the first inning with ease, needing just five pitches to retire catcher John Jaso, left fielder Johnny Damon and third baseman Evan Longoria in order.

''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.''

Tagged: Pirates, Rays, Matt Diaz, Evan Meek, David Price, John Jaso

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