Starter goes four innings, allowing one run; Welch delivers comeback with homer
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Stefan Welch's three-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning helped the Pirates stun the Rays in a 6-4 comeback victory on Friday.
Welch, a member of Australia's World Baseball Classic team, connected off Kirby Yates on his first Grapefruit League at-bat. Welch was one of several players imported from the Pirates' Minor League camp for the game.
The rally began with Jeff Larish's two-out double off Dane de la Rosa. Lucas May drew a walk to bring up Welch.
Jared Hughes struck out two in a perfect eighth inning to earn the win, with Tim Alderson earning the save.
The Rays had previously attempted a comeback of their own. Run-scoring doubles by Luke Scott and Chris Gimenez capped a three-run go-ahead rally in the sixth. Ben Zobrist's leadoff homer touched off that scoring against left-hander Mike Zagurski.
Alex Cobb went 6 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs while walking three and striking out five.
John McDonald, the newest Pirates player, had snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the fourth, and pinch-hitter Garrett Jones' sacrifice fly later in the inning had given the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Jeanmar Gomez went four innings in his start and allowed three hits and a run.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead on Shelley Duncan's run-scoring infield grounder in the second, and Felix Pie tied it up for the Pirates with a run-scoring double in the third. Pie's eighth RBI also tied Andrew McCutchen for the team's spring lead.
Up next: Lefty Jeff Locke, in what suddenly appears to be a heated duel with veteran lefty Jonathan Sanchez for a spot in the rotation, will seek his third spring win on Saturday, when the Pirates visit Fort Myers for their rubber game against the Red Sox, live on MLB.TV. The teams have split four meetings heading into the 1:35 p.m. ET contest.