Reds 5, Rays 4
The Reds beat Tampa Bay 5-4 in their spring Florida finale.
The Reds are 18-10 this spring. Spring records don't mean a lot. But going into today, the two World Series teams -- Detroit (20-10) and St. Louis (15-10) -- were among the top five teams in spring standings.
The Reds exploded -- not literally of course -- for five runs in the first off Tampa Bay's Jae Seo.
Ryan Freel singled. Adam Dunn popped out bunting (maybe the No. 2 spot is going to his head). Brandon Phillips singled. Ken Griffey Jr. singled in Freel. Juan Castro, in the lineup because Edwin Encarnacion is sick, doubled in Phillips and Griffey. Scott Hatteburg doubled in Casto. Alex Gonzalez singled in Hatteberg. Chad Moeller then mercifully ended the inning by grounding into a double play.
Matt Belisle started and went 2 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on five hits. Kirk Saarloos followed and pitched 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball. Rheal Cormier allowed the other run. His ERA is up 5.62 this spring.
Narron said afterward that they still haven't made a call on the fifth starter. Still, think it's going to be Belisle.
Jared Burton only needed five pitches to finish the ninth for his third save of the spring.
The game drew 5,423. The club drew 87,344 for 15 dates. It was the second highest total since the club moved to Sarasota. The Reds drew 89,410 in the 2000, Griffey's first year.
My man Marc Lancaster made the trip over for the Tampa Trib. The Rays cut three guys before the game and are going to cut three after the game. They've played six in a row on the road. And they open the season in Yankee Stadium. Ouch. One of the best things about covering the Reds is you always open at home.