Miller homers, Eveland solid vs. Elias, Red Sox

Miller homers, Eveland solid vs. Elias, Red Sox

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After falling behind early, the Rays rallied with single runs, including Brad Miller's first homer, in the second, third, fifth, sixth and eighth innings to top a Red Sox split-squad, 5-1, on Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.

Tampa Bay's first two runs came against Boston starter Roenis Elias, a left-hander who is competing with lefty Henry Owens and right-hander Steven Wright for the fifth spot in the rotation. Both came after two were out, and only one of the runs was earned.

Three singles, capped by a base hit up the middle from Mikie Mahtook, tied the score in the second. First baseman Logan Morrison put the Rays ahead for good in the third, driving in Steven Souza Jr. with an unearned run after he had advanced to second on a throwing error.

Elias gave up five hits in four innings. More impressively, he didn't walk a batter while striking out five.

"I felt good out there," Elias said through an interpreter. "I've still got some work to do. I want to start mixing in some more curveballs, more breaking balls. I want to get better at that and start the season well. I felt great [about getting a lot of swing-and-misses], but that's not the most important thing. The most important thing for me is that I didn't walk anybody. That's always been the No. 1 thing for me."

Said coach Torey Lovullo, who was managing the Sox in Port Charlotte: "I thought it was a very good outing. He was throwing his fastball, attacking hitters. I don't remember them really driving the ball. I thought he did a great job controlling the tempo of the game."

Miller, the new Rays starting shortstop, added an insurance run in the fifth with a two-out homer to dead center.

The Red Sox scored first with an unearned run against non-roster Rays starter Dana Eveland in the top of the second. Eveland is trying to win a spot in the bullpen. At 32, he's the oldest pitcher Tampa Bay has in camp.

Catcher Blake Swihart led off with a walk and went all the way to third when camp sensation Sam Travis hit a sharp grounder to third and Steve Pearce threw it into right field trying to start a double play. Right felder Brennan Boesch followed with the sacrifice fly. Boesch later left the game after fracturing his right wrist trying to make a diving catch.

Up next for the Red Sox: Right-hander Joe Kelly gets the start on Saturday when the Red Sox play a 1:05 p.m. ET home game against the Cardinals. Setup man Koji Uehara will also see action in that game, and so will righty Carlos Marmol, who is trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee.

Up next for the Rays: Third baseman Evan Longoria, who fouled a pitch off his left shin Thursday, is expected to return to the lineup when the Rays host the Orioles on Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park. "I'm good. I'm just taking another day off," he said Friday. First pitch against the O's is 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Chris Archer will be on the mound, with righties Ryan Webb, Alex Colome and Andrew Bellatti also scheduled to pitch.

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