David Phelps got the start in the thirteenth game of spring training against the Rays and made the most of it. As part of the ongoing battle for the fifth starting spot, Phelps showed his credentials with a strong outing in game that eventually finished in a 3-3 tie.
Neither team could get any offense going early. The most interesting thing from a Yankee perspective was Derek Jeter's play in the field. Jeter made some decent defensive plays and looked to be moving easily in the field. The other interesting thing for the Yankees was Phelps' performance. Phelps went five innings allowing no runs on three hits while striking out one. It was a performance that will keep his name near or at the top of the fifth starter's spot competition.
The Yankees' offense was similarly held down by the Rays' pitchers, with Chris Archer allowing no runs on two hits in 3.1 innings.
The game's first run did not come until the seventh inning. After a scoreless sixth inning from Dellin Betances, Bruce Billings took the mound for the top of the seventh. James Loney led off against Billings with a double. Sean Rodriguez came up next and laid down a sacrifice bunt. Billings threw away the throw to first, allowing Loney to score. Two batters later, Rodriguez, who had stolen second and moved to third on a passed ball, came around to score on a Ryan Hannigan single. The Yankees got out of the inning when Vince Belnome lined into a double play, but the score was now 2-0 in favor of the Rays.
The Yankees got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the seventh. Alfonso Soriano hit a one-out single, followed by Kelly Johnson getting hit by a pitch. Ramon Flores and Russ Canzler, who replaced Soriano and Johnson, were both able to move up a base on a wild pitch. Flores then scored when Brian Roberts hit fly out which was deep enough for Flores to tag up. That cut the score to 2-1, but it would be all the Yankees could get in the seventh.
The Rays added another run in the top of the eighth. With one out, Jeremy Moore reached second after Dean Anna lost track of and dropped a fly ball. Moore would move to third on a Dan Burawa wild pitch and then come around to score on a ground out.
The Yankees were able to cut into the Rays' lead again in the bottom of the eighth. Jose Pirela led off with a single and was able to move to second on a Mason Williams ground out. Adonis Garcia came up next and he singled to put runners on the corners. With Anna at the plate, Garcia attempted to steal second. The throw hit Garcia and bounced into center field. That scored Pirela and made the score 3-2.
Other than Billings, all of the Yankee pitchers performed decently to greatly. Matt Daley looked especially good in his 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Down to their last out, the Yankees staged a comeback. After the first two hitters went down, Jose Gil singled to keep the game alive. Pirela then reached on a bloop single that just managed to drop in between two fielders. That moved Antoan Richardson, who pinch ran for Gil, to third. Rays' pitcher Braulio Lara then threw a wild pitch on which Richardson was able to score and tie the game.
Mark Montgomery pitched the tenth for the Yankees and he too impressed. He struck out one in a easy 1-2-3 inning. The Yankees then also failed to score in the tenth and the game was called after that, finishing in a 3-3 tie.
After an off day tomorrow, the Yankees will return to the field Tuesday against the Nationals at 1:05 eastern.