Jimenez on Jimenez, Cobb on hitting Cruz (Rays win 4-3)


Score: Rays 4, Orioles 3

Recap: Former Oriole Wilson Betemit lifted a sacrifice fly off Troy Patton in the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Evan Longoria tied the game 1-1 with a home run in the fourth and the Rays took the lead in the fifth on Yunel Escobar’s sacrifice fly. The Orioles scored in the first on Nick Markakis’ single, David Lough’s double and Adam Jones’ RBI grounder. Markakis scored the tying run in the fifth on Jones’ sacrifice fly after leading off with a double. Jonathan Schoop delivered another tying run in the eighth with a double that scored Steve Clevenger, who singled to go 17-for-36 this spring. Evan Meek struck out two while breezing through the seventh and appears to have made the club.

Need to know: Nelson Cruz exited the game in the fourth after being hit on the left side of the batting helmet by an Alex Cobb curveball. Cruz got up quickly and walked off the field with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells. He seemed to be OK and hung out in the clubhouse for a while before going to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan. It’s still a sickening sight and sound.

On deck: Saturday, at Triple-A Norfolk, 3:05 p.m.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez seems satisfied with tonight’s outing despite coming out of the game without completing the sixth inning.

Jimenez was charged with three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. He also served up a home run to Evan Longoria.

“It was good,” he said. “I threw a lot of strikes. Everything was working. I just left a couple of pitches up and they made me pay for it.

“The first thing was to get my pitch count up. I was able to throw 90-something pitches, so that was the main thing. Other than that, everything felt good. I was able to throw strikes and work in breaking balls.”

Next up is the second game of the regular season against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

“I can’t wait,” Jimenez said. “I’ve only been here for a month, but spring training is too long. Finally, we’re going to start the season.”

Ryan Webb recorded the last two outs in the sixth after replacing Jimenez, allowing one hit.

Evan Meek retired the side in order in the seventh, striking out two, and has permitted one run and two hits in nine spring innings.

He’s earned a spot in the bullpen.

The Orioles sent Nelson Cruz to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan after he was hit on the batting helmet by an Alex Cobb pitch in the fourth inning. He isn’t exhibiting any signs of a concussion or other trauma.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but it slipped a little bit. It was a curveball and just got away from me,” Cobb said.

“Not just me, I don’t think any pitcher wants to hit a guy in the head. It was a curveball, you know? If anything, any pitch you could hit him with, you’d prefer it to be that.

“It still stinks to see a guy go down like that. I’ve heard he’s OK, so that’s good.”

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