by Steve Carney
Mikie Mahtook hit a grand slam at home, and Ben Zobrist, Cole Figueroa and Matt Joyce each drove in runs on the road, as the Tampa Bay Rays swept a pair of split-squad games, beating the Toronto Blue Jays in Port Charlotte and the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton by identical 6-3 scores Sunday.
At home, Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the second after Kevin Pillar tripled in Bradley Glenn, then scored himself on a wild pitch by Bedard.
The deficit for Tampa Bay would not last long, as they loaded the bases three times in the bottom of the frame. Justin Christian would bring the first run in with a sacrifice fly, while Mahtook had the big blow, a grand slam to give the Rays the lead at 5-2.
The Blue Jays cut the lead back to two with a run in the fourth, but Tampa Bay added another run in the bottom of the fourth to set the score.
In Bradenton, Dave Martinez's squad opened the first by scoring runs on a Zobrist single and a wild pitch by Edinson Volquez.
Figueroa made the score 3-0 an inning later after his double was mishandled, allowing Wilson Betemit to score from first base.
An RBI double by Robert Andino got Pittsburgh on the board in the bottom of the second, but Joyce's RBI single put Tampa Bay back up by three runs.
An RBI groundout by Russell Martin in the fifth cut the lead to 4-2, and Cesar Ramos' wild pitch an inning later made the lead just a single run. However, Jerry Sands hit a two-run single in the eighth to give Tampa Bay breathing room and set the score.
The scariest moment in either game came in the third inning in Bradenton, when Wil Myers fouled a ball of of his right leg and left the game. The team said afterward that Myers suffered a bruise on the outside of his right quad above the knee, and was removed for precautionary reasons.
The Rays will welcome in the Boston Red Sox to Charlotte Sports Park Sunday, with David Price taking on Allan Webster at 1:05. Coverage begins on WDAE at 1:00.
NOTES: The team announced Sunday's game has already sold out, the first sellout of the spring for Tampa Bay. Pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo, who arrived in camp Saturday morning after getting his visa issues resolved, threw a bullpen session in the afternoon. Maddon says everything went well for the reliever. Oviedo could throw to hitters for the first time as early as Monday.