DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jake Bauers slugged his second home run in as many days and Chase Whitley tossed four innings of two-hit ball in his first spring start to help lead the Rays to a 3-2 victory against the Blue Jays on Saturday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.After Nick Franklin
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jake Bauers slugged his second home run in as many days and Chase Whitley tossed four innings of two-hit ball in his first spring start to help lead the Rays to a 3-2 victory against the Blue Jays on Saturday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
After Nick Franklin opened the fourth with a walk against Toronto starter Mat Latos, Bauers, rated the team's No. 4 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, crushed a two-run shot to right field two batters later for the Rays' first hit of the game and his team-leading fourth home run of Grapefruit League play. He also homered in Tampa Bay's 4-2 loss to the Twins on Friday.
"I kind of made it a point this spring, just to kind of take all the chips off my shoulder -- just take all of the pressure off myself and just try to have fun," Bauers said. "It's a great feeling when you do that, and you know it all translates."
Whitley, who is in competition for a spot on the Opening Day roster, allowed singles to Troy Tulowitzki to open the bottom of the first, and Kevin Pillar in the fourth. The right-hander also struck out four and walked one, getting a needed bounceback outing after yielding three runs in 1 2/3 innings of relief against Minnesota on Monday.
"It was good to get out there and to compete," Whitley said. "Any time you're going against the Blue Jays, regardless of who's in the lineup, it's always gonna be some pretty good guys, and that was fun out there."
Latos showed improvement in his second start, striking out three with two walks in 3 2/3 innings before being pulled after Bauers' blast. The right-hander, who is in camp on a Minor League deal, was hammered over two innings in his first start at the Orioles on March 8, giving up five runs on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts.
"All in all, good fastballs that I wanted down and away, good fastballs in that I wanted in," Latos said. "Some really good sliders that I threw. Got some ground balls. Got some swings and misses. Even the home run was where Russ [Martin] wanted it. He wanted it up and in, the guy just got his hands to it. Can't really do much about it when you make a good pitch."
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Rays outfield prospect Dayron Varona scored Patrick Leonard on a double in the fifth. Roemon Fields scored on a grounder by Mike Ohlman in the sixth, and drove home Jake Elmore on a one-out sacrifice fly in the eighth for Toronto.
Rays up next:Blake Snell will make his fourth start of the spring on Sunday against the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET in Port Charlotte. The left-hander, who allowed one run and walked five in his last outing against Baltimore on Tuesday, is scheduled to be followed by Tommy Hunter, Xavier Cedeno and Danny Farquhar.
Blue Jays up next: Right-hander Mike Bolsinger will make his first start of the spring when the Blue Jays visit the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. Bolsinger, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, was stretched out to two innings during his last spring appearance and likely will aim for three in this start.
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Jeff Odom is a contributor for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.