Roark sharp as Sizemore provides punch vs. Rays

Roark sharp as Sizemore provides punch vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Scott Sizemore belted a go-ahead three-run homer off Rays top prospect Blake Snell in the sixth inning, and the Nationals topped Tampa Bay, 6-2, on Wednesday in the first Grapefruit League contest for both teams.

Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays and did what he wanted in his first outing of the spring. The right-hander retired the Nationals in order in the first, striking out one. He threw eight pitches, six for strikes.

Particularly impressive from Odorizzi's outing was the sequence he used against Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner when he went fastball-curveball to go ahead 0-2 before striking out Turner swinging at a splitter.

"It was a good one to throw," Odorizzi said.

Tanner Roark started for the Nationals and did nothing to hurt his chances for earning the fifth spot in the rotation. The right-hander allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in two innings.

The Nationals took advantage of two Rays errors to score first in the third inning. Matt den Dekker reached on a fielding error by Rays second baseman Nick Franklin. Catcher Curt Casali's throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Wilmer Difo to score from second.

The Rays answered in the bottom of the inning when Desmond Jennings doubled home two unearned runs against Joe Ross for a 2-1 lead.

Rays left fielder Jaff Decker stood out when he threw out Matt Skole trying to score from second on a single off Snell in the sixth. Sizemore followed with a three-run homer to center on a 2-2 pitch to put the Nationals up, 4-2.

Up next for the Nationals: Max Scherzer will make his 2016 Grapefruit League debut in the Nationals' home opener Thursday against the Mets at 1:05 p.m. ET on Gameday Audio. Daniel Murphy is also expected to start, in what will be his first appearance against his former team.

Up next for the Rays: Listen to an exclusive webcast when right-hander Erasmo Ramirez makes his first start of the spring as the Rays host the Orioles on Thursday afternoon in a 1:05 ET contest at Charlotte Sports Park. Also expected to see action are right-handers Matt Andriese, Danny Farquhar, Steve Geltz, Jaime Schultz and left-hander Dana Eveland. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will start for the Orioles.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.