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Bucs' comeback bid falls short vs. Rays

Comeback bid falls short for Bucs

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RAYS 7, PIRATES 5
at Bradenton, Fla.
Sunday, March 2

Rays at the plate: B.J. Upton was causing havoc all over the basepaths on Sunday. The outfielder had a two-run triple in the third after having doubled in the first inning. He later reached base on a walk and stole second before his day ended. Shortstop Andy Cannizaro contributed with a 2-for-2 day, scoring once and driving in another.

Pirates at the plate: Infielder Chris Gomez reached base in both of his at-bats, lining a single to right in the second before walking two innings later. Doug Mientkiewicz also reached base twice and scored the Pirates' third-inning run on a Ryan Doumit groundout. Raul Chavez clubbed a solo home run in the eighth inning and knocked in a run in the ninth.

Rays on the mound: Starter Jeff Niemann allowed two baserunners in his inning of work on Sunday but escaped without allowing the Pirates to dent the scoreboard. Making his first appearance of the spring, left-hander Kurt Birkins looked extremely sharp in striking out the first two hitters he faced in his scoreless inning of relief.

Pirates on the mound: Tom Gorzelanny brushed off health concerns while completing one scoreless inning of work, but fellow lefty Paul Maholm allowed three runs and five hits in his two innings. As was a problem during his time in the Majors last season, John Van Benschoten struggled with control issues in his two innings of relief, allowing three walks and hitting one while allowing one run to score.

Grapefruit League records: Rays 3-0; Pirates 1-3.

Up next: The Rays will travel to Lakeland, Fla., on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET for the first of two meetings against the Tigers this spring. Right-hander Matt Garza is Tampa Bay's scheduled starter. As for Pittsburgh, the club will make its second trip north to Clearwater, Fla., to face the Phillies for the third time so far this spring at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Veteran right-hander Matt Morris will make the start in his Spring Training debut.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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