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Longoria provides power for Rays in first spring win

Sands adds solo jack; Cobb, Balfour combine for 2 2/3 scoreless innings

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Evan Longoria hit his first home run of the spring Sunday when the Rays defeated the Twins, 6-3, at Charlotte Sports Park.

Longoria's two-run blast came in the third against right-hander Anthony Swarzak, as the Rays slugger unloaded on an 0-1 pitch, depositing the baseball over the left-field fence to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.

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Alex Cobb started for the Rays and looked strong in 1 2/3 innings. The Rays right-hander allowed two hits while striking out three.

Outfield hopeful Brandon Guyer gave Cobb a nice assist in the first with a diving catch in right to rob Jason Kubel of a one-out single.

Grant Balfour made his first appearance since rejoining the Rays and pitched a scoreless third, allowing no baserunners while striking out one, needing just 12 pitches to get the job done.

"I'll take one-two-three, 12 pitches every day," Balfour said. "It definitely went well. It's Spring Training, the first game, so that's a perfect outing for me."

Ricky Nolasco, who signed four-year, $49 million deal with the Twins during the offseason, made his first appearance of the spring and held the Rays scoreless on two hits while striking out one in two innings.

Twins first baseman Chris Colabello aided Nolasco's cause by stabbing Jose Molina's line drive and throwing to second to double off Yunel Escobar to close the second inning.

Oswaldo Arcia homered off C.J. Riefenhauser in the fifth to cut the Rays' lead to 3-1. Jerry Sands hit a solo shot for the Rays in the sixth to extend the lead, but Brandon Waring responded with a solo homer of his own in the seventh.

Taylor Motter added an RBI single in the bottom of the frame and Roman Ali Solis came through with an RBI double to center to increase the lead to four, but the Twins made the score 6-3 on Jorge Polanco's single with two outs in the ninth.

Up next for the Rays: Matt Moore will make his first start of the spring Monday when the Rays host the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Charlotte Sports Park. Moore returned to a familiar workout during the past offseason, and the left-hander hopes the work on his mechanics and his level of fitness will add a few miles per hour to his fastball this season. Also scheduled to work are right-handers Heath Bell, Josh Lueke, Kirby Yates, Victor Mateo, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Gomes.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Grant Balfour, Alex Cobb, Evan Longoria, Jerry Sands