Rays 11, Reds 2

BY foxsports • March 29, 2009

Scott Kazmir had a much better day than Bronson Arroyo. Kazmir drove in three runs Sunday, and Tampa Bay took advantage of Arroyo's struggles with his breaking ball, rolling to an 11-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Kazmir struck out five and gave up four hits in six innings, including Jay Bruce's two-run homer. He also had a wind-blown, two-run double in Tampa Bay's eight-run fourth inning off Arroyo, who couldn't get his breaking pitches to work. Kazmir later added a run-scoring single. "It was just fun out there," Kazmir said. The left-hander spent time in the bullpen after his last start trying to correct a flaw in his delivery. He tends to lean his head to the side when he throws, causing his pitches to drift a bit. He practiced keeping his head straight ahead, and got satisfying results against the Reds. "That really helped," he said. "I can see an improvement. It was easier to get the ball where I wanted it to go." After his 95-pitch performance, Kazmir was pleased with how things were going with one week left in spring training. "I'm very confident," he said. "My arm feels incredible right now." His two run-scoring hits pleased his teammates, who yelled at him from the dugout each time he connected. "Everybody was behind me," he said. "As I was swinging the bat, I heard people screaming when I hit it. I didn't know what to do when I hit the ball." Arroyo knew after the first inning that it was going to get ugly. The right-hander couldn't get his breaking pitches to work when he took the mound, and told teammate Nick Masset between innings that it was bound to be a very bad day. "I came out after the first inning and I told Masset, 'This could be tough,"' Arroyo said. "It's probably the worst stuff I've had in five years, for real. I didn't have a breaking ball at all." Arroyo gave up 10 runs - three earned - and 14 hits in only 4 2-3 innings. An error got Tampa Bay started on its eight-run fourth inning, which featured 12 batters and eight hits. Kazmir came up with one out and two runners aboard and hit an opposite-field double that the wind carried well past outfielder Chris Dickerson. "That's the way it goes, man," Arroyo said. "Just keep grinding and try to catch a groove when the real deal comes." Notes: Kazmir threw 89 and 95 pitches, respectively, in his last two outings. He's scheduled to start the Rays' second game of the season, April 8 in Boston. ... OF B.J. Upton, recovering from shoulder surgery, is expected to be the DH for a minor league game on Monday. ... The start was delayed by rain for 56 minutes. Heavy morning showers wiped out manager Dusty Baker's plans to have 3B Edwin Encarnacion (sore throwing shoulder) and SS Alex Gonzalez (strained hamstring) play in a minor league game. ... Baker plans to make another round of roster cuts on Monday before a game in Bradenton against the Pirates. The Reds have 36 players in camp.

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