SARASOTA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rays scored five runs in the top of the ninth against relievers Oscar Villarreal and Stu Pomeranz to take a 7-5 lead, but Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty responded with a two-out, two-run homer to send the game to the 10th.
Steve Johnson retired the side in order, striking out the last batter, and the Orioles failed to score after loading the bases with no outs. We had to settle for a 7-7 tie.
Caleb Joseph tapped into a force at the plate, Jai Miller struck out and Wilson Betemit lined to short.
Two of the four runs off Villarreal were unearned after a fielding error by first baseman Joe Mahoney.
Miller had two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. He also struck out twice.
Taylor Teagarden will have a CT scan on his lower back later today after a specialist in St. Petersburg studied the results of his MRI. Teagarden had X-rays taken earlier.
“Regardless, he’s down for a little while,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter said it’s too soon to concede that opening day is tenuous for Teagarden. Showalter also said that Ronny Paulino, who played in his first game today, is third on the catching depth chart despite not reporting to camp until last Saturday.
Paulino lined an RBI single to left field on his first swing with the Orioles.
“They threw him a changeup first pitch. He hadn’t seen a pitch since last year,” Showalter said.
“Some of our guys were kind of getting down in the dugout a little bit because they weren’t real sure what his bat speed would be like first time off (David) Price,” Showalter said. “He’s always been a pull hitter. He’s never had a problem getting the head out.”
Nick Markakis is scheduled to play right field for the first time this spring on March 20. He’ll serve as the DH tomorrow in his exhibition debut.
Flaherty eventually will get a look at first base. He’s mostly played shortstop this spring.
Showalter said Flaherty has been “as advertised.”
Former Oriole Luke Scott went 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout.