Port Charlotte, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Mikie Mahtook hit a grand slam in the second inning while Erik Bedard pitched 4 1/3 strong frames as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-3, Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park.
Mahtook delivered the bases-clearing homer against Blue Jays starter Sean Nolin, giving the Rays (10-4) a commanding 5-2 lead.
Bedard (2-1) allowed three runs on six hits while striking out two in 4 1/3 innings to get the win. Of the 79 pitches he threw, 49 went for strikes.
“I think it was OK, just need to be more consistent with my off-speed and everything will be better after that,” Bedard said. “I think my cutter was better after the first inning. I’m just trying to get everything more consistent.”
Bedard, who is eyeing the fifth spot in the rotation, retired the Blue Jays in order in the firs but gave up two runs in the second.
Bedard allowed a one-out single to Brad Glenn in the second. Kevin Pillar followed with a triple to left and scored on a wild pitch to put the Blue Jays up, 2-0.
However, Nolin found trouble in the bottom of the second. Justin Christian’s sacrifice fly drove home the Rays’ first run ahead of the big blow delivered by Mahtook.
Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the fourth off Chad Jenkins put the Rays ahead, 6-3.
Nolin (0-1) absorbed the loss allowing five earned runs on five hits and three walks in just 1 2/3 innings of action as the Jays dropped to 6-10.
David Price will start Sunday afternoon when the Rays host the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park.
Price, who will be the Rays’ Opening Day starter, will be making his third official start of the spring. Right-hander Allen Webster is scheduled to start for the Red Sox.