St. Petersburg-As one of only two teams in baseball to feature green as a key part of their color scheme, you'd think that St. Patrick's Day would be kind to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. But apparently the luck of the Irish doesn't supersede poor pitching and clutch hitting, and as a result the Rays were left to cry in their green beer once again Saturday afternoon after a 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
|W: Carmona (2-1)|
|L: Glover (0-2)|
|S: Sipp (1)|
The Rays' bats struggled to keep pace with their pitchers' rate of giving up runs, as the team found itself scoring in the bottom half of every inning in which Cleveland scored a run. However lack of clutch hitting continued to be a theme of the spring, as the Rays left five runners in scoring position with under two outs, and were unable to turn their single run innings into something bigger. Ultimately Ty Wigginton ended up as the only Ray with two hits (including one that went for two bases) on the day among nine total hits for the team. Akinori Iwamura had his most successful offensive day so far this spring, as he tripled and later scored the Rays' first run of the game in the fourth inning. He later hit a ground ball sacrifice to bring home Greg Norton, though he made an error as well on an errant throw after diving to snag a ground ball at third. Carlos Peña accounted for the other run when he drove in Ben Zobrist on an RBI double.
Ultimately the Indians were able to succeed mostly because they were able to drive in their runners by doing the right thing at the right time. Jason Michaels hit the game's only home run in the fourth inning, a two run shot off of Gary Glover that cleared the left field scoreboard on its ascent to the moon. Trot Nixon also contributed with two hits, including a double in the first, while Josh Barfield and Grady Sizemore came through with RBI singles to drive runners home. The Tribe was backed up by good pitching in the effort as well, including four solid innings of work from starter Fausto Carmona, who surrendered but one run on two strikeouts and no walks. Brian Slocum struggled a bit in giving up the other two Devil Ray runs over his three innings of work, but Matt Miller and Tony Sipp closed out the Rays over the final two frames to preserve the victory in front of 5,075 at Al Lang.