Niemann gets help from his bats

Niemann gets help from his bats

RAYS 7, YANKEES 2
at Tampa, Fla.
Saturday, March 15

Rays at the plate: Eric Hinske and Chris Richard slugged solo home runs -- their first homer of the spring -- off New York starter Ian Kennedy in the top of the second inning. Hinske singled and scored on a groundout in the fourth. Joel Guzman legged out a run-scoring triple and Richard tacked on a RBI double in the sixth to extend Tampa Bay's lead.

Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez doubled to deep center and scored on Jorge Posada's second-inning sacrifice fly to put the Yankees on the board. Rodriguez was thrown out attempting to score on Posada's double in the fifth, but -- in a nod to the past week's drama -- stopped in front of home plate and permitted catcher Josh Paul to tag him out gently, avoiding a collision.

Rays on the mound: Jeff Niemann limited the Yankees to one run on six hits over four innings as he made his third start of the spring. Niemann walked none and struck out one, throwing 68 pitches -- 41 for strikes. Gary Glover went one inning and yielded only one hit. Dan Wheeler gave up a run.

Yankees on the mound: Kennedy allowed two solo homers but limited the Rays to three hits over three innings, walking two and striking out five. Kennedy threw 57 pitches, 34 for strikes. Closer Mariano Rivera made his fourth spring appearance and allowed his first run, while LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless fifth around two walks. Kei Igawa had a rocky sixth, allowing two runs on two doubles and a triple. Igawa also gave up a mammoth solo home run to pinch-hitter Hector Gimenez in the seventh.

Grapefruit League records: Rays 12-3-1, Yankees 7-7-2

Up next for the Yankees: Chien-Ming Wang will get the start in his fourth Spring Training game on Sunday as the Yankees host the Indians at 1:05 ET. Reigning Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia will make his second spring start in the first of two spring games scheduled between the clubs, kicking off a Grapefruit League rematch of Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Up next for the Rays: James Shields will start for the Rays as they return home to Progress Energy Park for a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup with the Tigers. Troy Percival, who has yet to allow a hit in three spring innings, is also scheduled to pitch for Tampa Bay. Dontrelle Willis will take the mound opposite Shields, with Zach Miner, Aquilino Lopez and Bobby Seay also slated to throw for Tampa Bay.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.