SARASOTA, FlA. – The Orioles finished their Grapefruit League schedule with a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays under the lights at Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday night.
The Rays plated the winning run in the top of the ninth off left-hander Troy Patton when former Oriole Wilson Betemit’s sacrifice fly scored Desmond Jennings, who singled to open the inning and went to third on Jake DePew’s single and ensuing errors by right-fielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Jonathan Schoop tied the game in the eighth inning with a two-out, run-scoring double off the bottom of the centerfield wall off right-hander Merrill Kelly.
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The 22-year-old Schoop, who is battling for one of the team’s final Opening Day roster spots, finished a spectacular camp, going 15-for-39 with two homers and eight RBIs this spring.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez made his final start before the regular season, allowing three earned runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
"I can't wait,” said Jimenez, who will start the second game of the season on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. “I've only been here for a month but spring training is too long. Finally, we're going to start the season."
After allowing a leadoff double to Matt Joyce to open the game, Jimenez retired eight straight before he allowed a bunt single to Joyce down the third base line on a shift. He then walked Ben Zobrist on a 3-2 pitch but got out of the inning by picking Joyce off second base.
Jimenez allowed a towering solo homer to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria in the fourth inning. Logan Forsythe then led off the fifth with a single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Yunel Escobar’s sacrifice fly.
"It was good,” Jimenez said. “I threw a lot of strikes. Everything was working. I just left a couple of pitches up and they made me pay for it."
Adam Jones drove in both of the Orioles’ runs, plating Nick Markakis both times.
The Rays took a 3-2 lead off Jimenez in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Longoria and James Loney, chasing Jimenez from the game.
"The first thing was to get my pitch count up,” Jimenez said. “I was able to throw 90-something pitches, so that was the main thing. Other than that, everything felt good. I was able to throw strikes and work in breaking balls."