Rays Split Final Twin-Bill Of Spring

PORT CHARLOTTE (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays went 1-1 in their final split-squad day of the Grapefruit League, beating up on the Atlanta Braves 8-1 at Charlotte Sports Park, but being shut out by the Boston Red Sox 8-0 at JetBlue Park.

The matinee turned out to be good for any player in the lineup with the last name Lowe. Brandon Lowe, playing in his first game since signing a six-year deal on Wednesday, hit a three run home run in the first inning off Braves starter Kyle Wright to put Tampa Bay on top for good. Not to be outdone, Nate Lowe also hit a three-run home run in the inning off Wright, boosting the Rays lead to 6-1 and chasing the Braves starter before he could get the first three outs of the game.

Nate Lowe made it 7-1 in the fourth thanks to an RBI double, and Mike Zunino capped the scoring an inning later with a mammoth home run over the batters eye in straightaway center for his fourth home run of the spring.

2017 first-round Brendan McKay, making his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game, allowed a solo home run to Austin Riley in the first, but only one other hit in his two innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out four, including Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies back-to-back to start the game.

Diego Castillo got the first two outs of the third before turning things over to Yonny Chirinos, who scattered six hits in his 3 2/3 innings of shutout work. Ryan Yarbrough went the final 2 2/3 innings to end the game.

In the nightcap, Boston scraped across a run in the first on a double play grounder before exploding for five more runs in the third. Rafael Devers tripled in two runs off Adam Kolarek before Emilio Pagan gave up an RBI double to J.D. Martinez, then a run on an error by Joey Wendle and finally a RBI single by Dustin Pedroia. Ryan Fitzgerald finished the scoring in the sixth with a two-run double off Hoby Milner.

The Rays will wrap up the home portion of their Grapefruit League season Friday, when the Pittsburgh Pirates come to Charlotte Sports Park. Wilmer Font will get the start, taking on Francisco Liriano. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.

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