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Souza's HR clears ballpark in spring finale

March 31, 2017

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Tampa Bay outfielder Steven Souza Jr. hit a mammoth home run and Timothy Beckham added a three-run triple as the Rays and Phillies concluded Grapefruit League play with a 7-7 tie in nine innings on Friday afternoon at Spectrum Field.Souza connected for a solo shot -- his

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Tampa Bay outfielder Steven Souza Jr. hit a mammoth home run and Timothy Beckham added a three-run triple as the Rays and Phillies concluded Grapefruit League play with a 7-7 tie in nine innings on Friday afternoon at Spectrum Field.
Souza connected for a solo shot -- his second of the spring -- against Philadelphia starter Clay Buchholz in the second, driving a no-doubter over the left-field bullpen and out of the ballpark. Finally healthy following two injury-marred campaigns with Tampa Bay, the 27-year-old Souza capped a strong spring batting .370 with nine RBIs in 17 games.
In the fourth, after Buchholz allowed back-to-back singles to Brad Miller and Peter Bourjos and walked Derek Norris to open the frame, Beckham tripled to right-center to clear the bases. Mallex Smith drove in Beckham one batter later with a sacrifice fly to center.
Buchholz yielded five runs on seven hits in five innings of work. The right-hander also struck out three and walked one, finishing with a 6.65 ERA in six starts.
"I choose to believe that it's just Spring Training. … Buchholz, we haven't seen enough of him," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of the two-time All-Star's up-and-down spring.
"That one game [March 10 against the Yankees] he pitched three innings ... and didn't pitch well, but he struck out I think six in [3 1/3] innings, or something like that. Six of his outs were strikeouts. So we know what he's capable of doing."
The Rays issued four walks in the fourth and the Phillies responded by sending 11 batters to the plate for five runs on a solo homer by Freddy Galvis and RBI doubles from Andrew Knapp and Cesar Hernandez.
Tampa Bay scored twice in the sixth, but Philadelphia's Cameron Rupp doubled home two runs in the bottom of the frame to knot it for good.
Alex Cobb made his final start of the spring prior to opening the 2017 season on Wednesday against the Yankees at Tropicana Field. The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out two in 3 2/3 innings.
"It was a good final tuneup," said Cobb, who was coming back from recent back tightness. "Feel more comfortable every time you get on the mound. There was a little bit longer layoff between outings this time. So it was good to get that feeling of just being out there and feeling comfortable on the mound again. Got to another level on the last few batters. … Got to a level of zoning in I haven't felt in a while."
Rays Up Next:Chris Archer will make his third straight Opening Day start on Sunday afternoon when the Rays host the Yankees at Tropicana Field in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest. Archer has electric stuff and is coming off a spring in which he went 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA, striking out 17 and walking four in 13 2/3 innings.
Phillies Up Next:Jeremy Hellickson will make his second consecutive Opening Day start on Monday against the Reds at 4:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park. The right-hander, who was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts last season, finished his spring on a high note against the Yankees on March 24, allowing one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
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Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com.