Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rays drop opener in new park

Well, at least the beer was cold.

The Rays opened Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte on Wednesday with a 7-0 loss to the Reds in the first spring training game played at that site since 2002.

Traffic on State Road 776 leading to the ball park was backed up for miles, causing many fans to miss the first four innings.

Most of 6,028 (not a sell out) were inside the park to see Jerry Hairston's grand slam off Randy Choate in the fourth inning for all the offense the Reds would need.

Adam Rosales hit a two-run homer off Mitch Talbot in the ninth for the final runs of the afternoon.

Rays starter Carlos Hernandez and Jason Hammel each threw a pair of scoreless innings. Hammel, competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, allowed three hits and struck out two.

For those who keep track of such things, Carl Crawford slapped an opposite-field single to left field in the first inning for the first hit in the new ball park.

The Rays return to action Thursday against the Yankees in Tampa.

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