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For Colombia, Moreno holds Rays scoreless

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Colombia scored six runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Rays, 9-7, on Wednesday night, and the win was helped by Tampa Bay right-hander Diego Moreno, who held his teammates scoreless through two innings to pick up the win.

Because Colombia did not want to use up its bullpen prior to its participation in WBC 2017, using the Rays pitchers was deemed a necessity. Play in Pool C begins for Colombia on Friday night in Miami against Team USA at 6 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Colombia scored six runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Rays, 9-7, on Wednesday night, and the win was helped by Tampa Bay right-hander Diego Moreno, who held his teammates scoreless through two innings to pick up the win.

Because Colombia did not want to use up its bullpen prior to its participation in WBC 2017, using the Rays pitchers was deemed a necessity. Play in Pool C begins for Colombia on Friday night in Miami against Team USA at 6 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

View Full Game Coverage

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

When Colombia went to the bullpen in the sixth, it first got help from the Rays, who supplied right-hander Jeff Ames. The right-hander notched a scoreless frame then left the mound and went to the Rays' dugout.

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Colombia called on the Rays again in the seventh, employing Neil Wagner, who pitched a scoreless inning.

Moreno closed out the bullpen effort against the Rays, retiring the six hitters he faced -- striking out three -- to pick up the decision.

"Moreno's looked outstanding this entire spring," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's pretty intriguing, with a fastball-changeup combination. It's a power arm that throws a changeup well and throws it repeatedly, and guys don't seem to make adjustments on it."

Tim Beckham doubled to start the game and added his first home run of the spring in his next trip to the plate.

"What a spring he's having and just continues to have," Cash said. "I hope he's understanding how big of a role he can play for our team this year, whether it's short, outfield, second base or whatever. And the way he's swinging the bat, he's in a really good spot. We've got to find a way to keep him there heading into another two weeks, or whatever."

Steven Souza Jr. also homered, hitting his first of the spring against former Rays right-hander Ernesto Frieri.

"Souza's been swinging the bat," Cash said. "I think he's hit two already that are probably homers if he wasn't playing on a windy day. But it was good to see him get hold of that one."

Jake Bauers continued to put his sweet swing on display with a double off the wall in right-center.

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez made his first outing of the spring, pitcing a scoreless seventh for the Rays, retiring the side in order.

"That looked like vintage Erasmo, what we saw in the first half last year," Cash said. "Just come in, pound the strike zone and get quick outs."

A good sign for the Rays came in the sixth, when speedster Mallex Smith drew a walk, then stole second and third.

Jose De Leon made his second outing of the spring, pitching the fourth and fifth innings after having a tough outing against the Red Sox in his first spring appearance.

"I thought he was a lot better tonight," Cash said. "[Velocity] was good. He got a couple of ground balls for double plays. He's fine. I think more than anything, he needs to calm down. But it's not an easy thing. It's a new environment for him. And he's still getting acclimated, but we couldn't be happier for where he's at."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays