BRADENTON (620 WDAE) -- Blake Snell pitched into the sixth inning in his final start of Spring Training, and Matt Duffy had three hits and drove in a pair, but it was not enough as the Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 Saturday at LECOM Park (formerly McKechnie Field).
On the mound: Snell came withing an out of throwing six complete frames, allowing four earned run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out eight while throwing 97 pitches.
"I know he gave up a couple of runs there," manager Kevin Cash said, "but still the ball continues to come out of his hand well."
Snell finishes the Grapefruit League with a 3.12 earned run average, allowing just six earned runs total in 17 1/3 innings, down from an ERA of nearly six a year ago, and Cash has been pleased with how he's performed this spring.
"He's in a good mindset," the Rays manager explained. "He's excited for the season, but he could not have had a better spring from a work standpoint and just an overall effort."
Austin Pruitt, who is battling for one of the final spots in the bullpen, had a rough Saturday, giving up a solo homer to minor-leaguer Will Craig that broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh, along with RBI doubles by Josh Harrison and Jose Osuna in 1 1/3 innings, with Cash chalking it up to being one of those days.
"Just too much of the plate, and some mistakes, and it seemed like they were all over everything he was throwing," Cash said.
Jonny Venters got the first two outs of the home eighth and Daniel Hudson finished out the frame.
At the plate: Duffy had an RBI singe in the top of the third inning that scored Kevin Kiermaier, and an infield single with two away in the top of the ninth to plate minor-leaguer Nathan Lukes, but the highlight for Cash was the play of Wilson Ramos, who was the DH Saturday. Ramos had a single and a double, driving in a run and scoring twice, including from first base on a RBI double by Adeiny Hechavarria.
"He's starting to get going a little bit," Cash said. "We've seen that in his swings, maybe not the results, and then he hit a home run [Friday] on a back field and then today it's starting to pay off, a lot the work he's put in with Chad [Mottola]."
Rays vs New York Yankees, Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, 1:05 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 12:30.
Rays pitchers: RHP Andrew Kittredge (start), relievers TBA.
Yankees pitchers: RHP Brian Keller, RHP Brady Lail, RHP Adonis Rosa, LHP Trevor Lane, RHP Raynel Espinal
Monday: at Detroit Tigers, Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, 1:05 pm.
Tuesday: vs Detroit Tigers, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, 12:35 pm