Starter Nolasco throws two scoreless frames in Twins debut
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.
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 Twins: The Twins have split-squad action for the first time this spring on Monday, as they host the Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium and travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles. Right-hander Kevin Correia will make the start against Toronto, and he will be followed by right-hander Kyle Gibson and left-handers Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar. Right-hander Vance Worley will start vs. Baltimore, and he'll be followed by right-hander Trevor May and left-hander Sean Gilmartin.