Red Sox 7, Rays 7

If there was a day for the flailing Tampa Bay hitters to start

connecting in spring training, Saturday was it.

On an afternoon when Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine left

his regulars back at camp and opted to bring minor leaguers and

backups, the Rays got home runs from Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria and

Luke Scott in a 7-all tie called after nine innings.

The Rays committed four errors, uncharacteristic for a team that

preaches pitching and defense before offense.

”We were a little messy defensively,” Pena said. ”Next thing

you know, they’re scoring some runs because of our lapse.”

”I know they had their minor leaguers come in and play against

us today, but we understand that we can play any given day a Little

League team, and whoever executes the plays, that’s who’s going to

win the game,” he said. ”So we don’t take anything for granted,

and that’s a very good lesson to be reminded.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon sent out a handful of relievers because

scheduled starter Jeff Niemann was a late scratch due to a blister

on his right middle finger. Niemann, who just won the fifth spot in

Tampa Bay’s rotation, isn’t expected to miss his first regular

season start.

Wade Davis, who lost the fifth spot to Niemann, made his first

appearance since being sent to the bullpen, entering the game in

the fourth inning. The right-hander labored through three innings,

giving up five runs on five hits and a walk.

Davis made two errors, and four of the runs he permitted were

unearned.

”If you really break Wade down, I thought he actually threw the

ball pretty darn good,” Maddon said. ”I thought he had a pretty

good fastball, threw some really good splits, which he’s been

working on. I kind of like that, some pretty good sliders. I

thought overall he threw the ball pretty well. He was just the

victim of some mistakes today.”

Pena homered to deep right-center in the second, moments after

Ross Ohlendorf picked off Ben Zobrist at first base.

”I’ve been feeling better and better as days have gone by, and

you come in and do the best you can to get to that comfort zone,”

Pena said.

Longoria hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third. He hit a

solo homer in the fifth.

Jose Lobaton had a two-run double to center in the fourth and

scored on a double by Sean Rodriguez to make it 5-1. Lobaton, who

won the backup catcher job, went 3 for 4 and scored twice.

With the Rays down 7-6, Scott hit a tying homer in the

seventh.

Ohlendorf, expected to start the season in Triple-A Pawtucket,

went 3 2-3 innings. He allowed five runs and seven hits.

NOTES: The Rays reassigned INF Will Rhymes and OF Jesus

Feliciano to minor league camp.