Odorizzi solid as Rays top Pirates

Odorizzi solid as Rays top Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi pitched into the seventh inning against most of the Pirates' starting lineup as Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh, 3-1, on Saturday night at McKechnie Field.

Odorizzi allowed one run on five hits and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings against the Pirates' projected Opening Day lineup, aside from right fielder Gregory Polanco, a late scratch due to a sore right shoulder. Odorizzi walked two batters and ramped up his workload to 107 pitches.

"It was an outstanding outing for Jake,'' said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "It looked like he mixed in his pitches real well. He got a little bit of death by foul ball and couldn't quite get to that seventh-inning mark just because they fouled so many pitches off."

Odorizzi's only blemish came in the sixth inning, when Pirates third baseman David Freese ripped his first Pittsburgh homer, a shot deep to center field -- so deep, in fact, that Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier appeared to lose sight of the ball as it sailed well over his head.

That was all the support the Pirates could muster for their Opening Day starter, left-hander Francisco Liriano. The veteran gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out four over 4 2/3 innings.

"The last two starts, I've just been having a little trouble with fastball location. I think it'll be OK," Liriano said. "I've got two more bullpens to keep working on it. Execute pitches on Opening Day, try to get better location with the fastball. Other than that, I think everything's fine."

The Rays struck first, as Steven Souza Jr. drove in Minor League callups Granden Goetzman -- a native of nearby Palmetto, Fla. -- and Cristian Toribio with a double to left field off Liriano in the second inning.

Toribio, who spent last season with Class A Bowling Green, added to the Rays' lead with a fourth-inning solo homer to left-center field off Liriano.

On Goetzman and Toribio, Cash said, "It was awesome to see those guys. It was really cool."

Freese, who's had to adapt quickly after signing as a free agent with the Pirates on March 11, led off the bottom of the sixth inning by crushing a 3-2 pitch from Odorizzi onto the boardwalk that runs along the outfield fence.

Up next for Rays: Tampa Bay will be focusing on its bullpen in its big league game against Toronto at home at Charlotte Sports Park. Scheduled to pitch are David Carpenter (starting), Ryan Webb, Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno and Danny Farquhar. The game is on MLB.TV at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Up next for Pirates: Pittsburgh will return to McKechnie Field on Sunday for a 6:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. With rotation candidate Juan Nicasio scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, the Pirates will start prospect Trevor Williams in front of most of their Opening Day lineup. Williams was sent to Minor League camp with the Bucs' first round of Spring Training roster cuts. Baltimore will counter with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. The game is on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.