Beckham doubles and triples in spring opener

Beckham doubles and triples in spring opener

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Shortstop Tim Beckham, competing for a utility role, doubled and tripled to help lead the Rays to a 3-1 win over the Twins in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams Friday night at Hammond Stadium.

Byungho Park paced the offense for Minnesota, going 2-for-2 with a double off the right-field wall. Park, who was designated for assignment shortly before Spring Training, is competing with Kennys Vargas and Ben Paulsen to be the Twins' designated hitter.

Beckham led off the game with a double and tripled to lead off the third inning. He came around to score in the third on an RBI single from Daniel Robertson off Twins reliever Brandon Kintzler.

"Beck looked awesome," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Happy for [Rays starter Austin] Pruitt, the way his outing went. ... Good to get it going."

Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts, while Pruitt got the start for the Rays and threw two scoreless frames with three strikeouts.

"I threw a lot of four-seamers tonight, and worked on the sinker a little bit with the new delivery, especially to the glove side," Gibson said. "Other than that, it was pretty good. Was able to attack with the fastball and was able to get ahead, for the most part. When I got behind, I was able to locate and get back into counts."

The Rays scored their second run in the sixth against Rule 5 Draft pick Justin Haley. Curt Casali started the rally with a leadoff double and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Shane Peterson after a single from Luke Maile.

Right-hander Jacob Faria was also impressive for Tampa Bay, striking out three over two scoreless innings. The lone hit he gave up was the double to Park in the fourth.

After the Rays got an RBI double from Patrick Leonard in the ninth against reliever Michael Tonkin, who is competing for a spot in Minnesota's bullpen, the Twins cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning on a groundout by Benji Gonzalez.

What's next
Rays: The Rays open their home Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday afternoon in a 1:05 ET contest at Charlotte Sports Park. David Carpenter will get the start, with Dana Eveland, Danny Farquhar, Cory Rasmus, Justin Marks, Jaime Schultz, Neil Wagner and Taylor Guerrieri also scheduled to pitch. Josh Lindblom will start for the Pirates. Fans can listen to this game live on Gameday Audio.

Twins: The Twins head down the street to play the Red Sox on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT at JetBlue Park. Right-hander Phil Hughes, who is coming off surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, is slated to make his first start of the spring. Other pitchers scheduled to throw include Tyler Duffey, Ryan Vogelsong, Adalberto Mejia, Ryan Pressly, Ryan O'Rourke, J.T. Chargois and Alex Wimmers. Duffey, Vogelsong and Mejia are expected to get stretched out this spring to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with other candidates such as Jose Berrios and Trevor May. This game will be available live on MLB.TV.

Watch almost 300 Spring Training games and every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.