03/09/08 4:09 PM ET
Sloppy second inning dooms Rays
Jackson's struggles, porous defense lead to six-run frame
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
at St. Petersburg
Sunday, March 9
Reds at the plate: The Reds sent 11 hitters to the plate in the second inning when they scored six runs on six hits. Ryan Freel, Norris Hopper, Jolbert Cabrera, Chris Kroski and Ryan Hanigan all had RBIs in the inning. For Cabrera, who is fighting to win a utility spot, it was his team-leading 10th RBI of the spring.
Rays at the plate: Ben Zobrist, competing to earn a spot on the Rays' roster as a utility player, started in left field. Zobrist had a single and a double in three trips to the plate to improve his spring average to .444 (8-for-18). Zobrist also stole a base and scored a run. Highly regarded shortstop prospect Reid Brignac got his first hit of the spring, an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Reds on the mound: Matt Belisle started for the Reds and pitched in and out of trouble before leaving after three innings, allowing just one unearned run. The Rays loaded the bases against the right-hander in the first, but Belisle struck out Willy Aybar to end the inning. The most disappointing aspect of Belisle's outing came when he walked the first two batters of the second inning after being staked a 6-0 lead, which prompted a mound visit from manager Dusty Baker.
Rays on the mound: Making his second official start of the Grapefruit League season, right-hander Edwin Jackson experienced a nightmare in the second inning when he allowed six runs on six hits. The defense didn't help Jackson's cause in that frame, which included two Rays errors, one a throwing error by Jackson. The righty is considered one of the favorites to claim one of the two open slots in the Rays' starting rotation. Troy Percival made his second outing of the spring and retired the Reds in order in the fifth.
Grapefruit League records: Reds 7-5, Rays 7-2.
Up next: The Rays will host the Indians on Monday afternoon in a 1:05 ET contest at Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field. Right-hander Jason Hammel will start for the Rays and is slated to be followed by Grant Balfour, Al Reyes, Wade Davis, Trever Miller and Jake McGee. The Indians will start right-hander Paul Byrd.
The Reds travel to Tampa, Fla., on Monday to play the Yankees in a 7:15 p.m. contest at Legends Field. Right-hander Homer Bailey will start for the Reds and will be followed by Edinson Volquez, Mike Stanton, Jon Coutlangus, Justin Lehr, Mike Lincoln, Gary Majewski, Adam Pettyjohn, Brad Salmon and Tom Shearn. Joba Chamberlain will start for the Yankees.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.