Longoria hits solo homer, scores on Loney double
Cobb allows one run on three hits in four innings
SARASOTA, Fla.- Evan Longoria homered and the Orioles had a scare with new outfielder Nelson Cruz as Tampa Bay topped Baltimore 4-3 on Thursday night.
Longoria got the Rays on the board with a one-out solo homer off new Oriole Ubaldo Jimenez's 1-1 pitch in the fourth inning. Jimenez went 5 1/3 innings in his final spring tune-up and gave up three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. He also struck out four.
"Everything was working. I just left a couple of pitches up and they made me pay for it," Jimenez said.
"The first thing was to get my pitch count up. I was able to throw 90-something pitches, so that was the main thing. Other than that, everything felt good. I was able to throw strikes and work in breaking balls."
Cruz exited in the fourth inning after taking Rays starter Alex Cobb's curveball off the left side of his helmet. He was replaced by Delmon Young and walked to the training room with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells.
"I don't think any pitcher wants to hit a guy in the head," said Cobb, who went four innings and allowed one run on three hits and a walk. "It was a curveball, you know. If anything, any pitch you could hit him with, you'd prefer it to be that. It still stinks to see a guy go down like that. I've heard he's OK, so that's good."
Cruz was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan, which came back clean. The team is optimistic, given that Cruz showed no signs of trauma.
"(We'll) take a look and see how he feels tomorrow, but he feels pretty good," manager Buck Showalter said. "It cracked the helmet.
"It sounded hopefully worse than it was. He seems to be fine, I'm going to talk to him when I get up there ... like to say we dodged a bullet, but he didn't. It's a little early, but I think he's going to be fine."
The Orioles scored first on Adam Jones' RBI groundout, which plated Nick Markakis, who opened the game with a single and moved to third on David Lough's double. Jones struck again in the fifth, with a sacrifice fly to score Markakis and tie the game at 2.
Tampa Bay temporarily took the lead in the fifth on Yunel Escobar's sacrifice fly and pulled ahead again on James Loney's sixth-inning double to score Longoria.
"I was good," Cobb said. "I came out in the first and I was a little bit uncomfortable and then really, made an adjustment and got comfortable and we got more aggressive with my fastball. It was a good last-minute lesson."
Up next: Left-hander Matt Moore will start Friday afternoon when the Rays travel to Lakeland to play the Tigers in a 1:05 contest. Moore will be making his first appearance since getting hit in the mouth by a line drive Sunday against the Red Sox. Fortunately for Moore, he somehow deflected the shot, which softened the blow. Also scheduled to see work for the Rays are right-handers Josh Lueke, Grant Balfour, and Joel Peralta along with left-hander Jake McGee. Right-hander Drew VerHagen will start for the Tigers.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.