Rios homers, but Jays fall

Rios homers, but Jays fall

RAYS 8, BLUE JAYS 4
at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Friday, March 14, 2008

Rays at the plate: John Weber's single drove in the go-ahead run and Evan Longoria had a two-run homer to help the Rays score five runs in the eighth. The Rays got on board in the second via a two-out single by John Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who is competing for a spot as the Rays' fifth outfielder, was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Eric Hinske had a double, a walk and scored twice. cliff Floyd also had a walk and run scored.

Blue Jays at the plate: The Blue Jays broke through in the second inning for two runs courtesy of a Lyle Overbay double and a sacrifice fly from Aaron Hill. Alex Rios had his first home run of the spring. His third-inning drive off Edwin Jackson also scored Scott Rolen, who walked in two of his three plate appearances.

Rays on the mound: Righty Jackson, one of three Rays competing for the final two rotation spots, made his third outing of the spring. Jackson pitched five innings and was charged with two hits, four walks and four runs. Al Reyes followed and allowed one hit in one inning, with a strikeout.

Blue Jays on the mound: Due to rain, the Jays shuffled their starters, giving closer B.J. Ryan the ball first in his Grapefruit League debut. Ryan, who had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in May, threw 12 pitches, eight of them for strikes. Ryan retired all three batters he faced, striking out two. Scheduled starter Jesse Litsch, considered the front-runner for the final rotation spot with Casey Janssen's season-ending injury, threw the next 4 2/3 innings. Litsch was charged with five hits and three runs. Brian Tallet was charged with four runs in the Rays' five-run eighth.

Grapefruit League records: Rays (10-3-1), Blue Jays (5-11-0)

Up next for the Rays: Tampa Bay will split its squad Saturday, with righty Jason Hammel getting the start against Atlanta at Champion Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla. Hammel will oppose Braves righty John Smoltz. Scott Dohmann and Calvin Medlock are also slated to pitch for the Rays in the 1:05 p.m. ET matchup.

In Tampa, Jeff Niemann will get the start opposite Kei Igawa as the Rays play the Yankees for the third time this spring. Gary Glover, Dan Wheeler and Scott Munter are also scheduled to appear for the game at Legends Field, which will start at 1:15 p.m.

Up next for the Blue Jays: Right-hander Roy Halladay will take the mound for the Blue Jays when they host the Pirates in Dunedin, Fla. at Knology Park at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. Ian Snell is slated to start for Pittsburgh.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.