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Souza homers as Cobb fans five in start

MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Catcher Jacob Stallings launched a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and Gift Ngoepe hit a walk-off single in the ninth, leading the Pirates to a 5-4 win over the Rays on Tuesday afternoon at LECOM Park.

John Jaso, a former Ray, gave the Pirates an early lead with a two-run homer over the boardwalk beyond the right-field fence. Tampa Bay got to Pirates starter Chad Kuhl in the second inning, when Nick Franklin singled home Casey Gillaspie. Kuhl served up two home runs in the third inning, as Patrick Leonard homered to left field and Steven Souza Jr. ripped a solo shot to center.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Catcher Jacob Stallings launched a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and Gift Ngoepe hit a walk-off single in the ninth, leading the Pirates to a 5-4 win over the Rays on Tuesday afternoon at LECOM Park.

John Jaso, a former Ray, gave the Pirates an early lead with a two-run homer over the boardwalk beyond the right-field fence. Tampa Bay got to Pirates starter Chad Kuhl in the second inning, when Nick Franklin singled home Casey Gillaspie. Kuhl served up two home runs in the third inning, as Patrick Leonard homered to left field and Steven Souza Jr. ripped a solo shot to center.

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Video: TB@PIT: Jaso crushes a two-run homer to right field

Kuhl, likely but not officially the Pirates' No. 4 starter, settled down after that and pitched five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out four. Kuhl leans on his two-seam fastball during the season, but he's thrown a lot more four-seam fastballs this spring, looking to add another offering that will offset his sinker and changeup.

"Pitches were working. They had life, but just struggled early on getting it down," Kuhl said. "Battled through, and [the fourth and fifth innings] were a lot better."

The Pirates tied the game in the fourth when Jose Osuna -- as hot as any hitter in baseball this spring -- doubled to left field and eventually scored on a wild pitch by Alex Cobb. The Rays right-hander gave up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings.

Video: TB@PIT: Cobb strikes out Moroff swinging in the 2nd

"First few innings, started off a little timid," Cobb said. "Too mechanical, thinking too much, not getting in that groove. But you have to do that to eventually find the groove you want to be in. I think that started coming to me a little bit as the game went on."

Pittsburgh right-hander A.J. Schugel relieved Kuhl, walked three batters but didn't allow a run in the sixth. Daniel Robertson singled in Kean Wong to give the Rays a lead in the top of the eighth, then Stallings tied it up with a solo homer to center in the bottom of the inning. Adam Frazier walked, stole second and made a nifty slide to elude the tag at home on Ngoepe's single to right field to win it.

Rays Up Next: The Rays will travel to Sarasota Wednesday night to play the Orioles in a 6:05 p.m. ET contest. Chris Archer will start for the Rays and should throw seven innings, or 105 pitches in his next-to-last Spring Training outing. The right-hander is the team's likely Opening Day starter. Chris Lee will start for the Orioles. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Pirates Up Next: Following an off-day Wednesday, the Pirates will return to play the Red Sox at JetBlue Park at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. Right-hander Drew Hutchison, competing for the final spot in Pittsburgh's rotation, is scheduled to start for the Bucs while right-hander Steven Wright starts for the Sox. Back in Pirates camp after the World Baseball Classic, Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte could return to the lineup.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.