Beckham Hot Bat Continues As Rays Fall To Pirates

BRADENTON (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff struggled with command for the most part Friday, but were able to limit the damage until the ninth inning, when Edwin Espinal's three-run homer off Ryne Stanek gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 4-1 walk-off win at LECOM Park (formerly McKechnie Field).

THE GOOD: Tim Beckham's performance at the plate continues to be strong, as the former top overall pick blasted his first Grapefruit League home run and his second of the spring, a solo shot off Drew Hutchinson in the third inning the tied the game.  Meanwhile, minor-league pitcher Hunter Wood worked 2 1/3 innings of no-hit relief, striking out three and showcasing a good slow curve.

THE BAD: Starter Matt Andriese, looking to try and lock down the fifth starter spot in the rotation, did not do himself any favors Friday, throwing 31 pitches to get the first three outs of the game and failing to get out of the second inning.  He only allowed a single run but allowed two hits and a pair of walks.  Reliever Jaime Schulz didn't allow any hits or runs, but walked four in his two-inning stint.  Right-fielder Steven Souza Jr. struck out in all three at-bats Friday, twice against Hutchinson and once against reliever Juan Nicasio.

THE UGLY: Stanek's tough spring continued Friday as he got just one out in the ninth, and committed a throwing error and allowed a walk before Espinal ended the game with a blast into the bleachers in left, his first of the spring.  His ERA is now 31.50 through four appearances.

UP NEXT: Tampa Bay heads to JetBlue Park for another matchup against the Boston Red Sox, with Alex Cobb taking on Chris Sale.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:05, with coverage on WDAE starting at 12:30 with Countdown to Opening Day. 

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