by Steve Carney
Jeff Niemann tossed six shutout innings, but Colby Rasmus broke open the game with a grand slam in the eighth inning, giving the Toronto Blue Jays 1 6-1 win over the Rays in Wednesday's home finale in Port Charlotte.
Niemann, battling Roberto Hernandez for the fifth starting position, had perhaps his best outing of the spring, allowing just two hits, walking nobody and striking out three.
Tampa Bay led 1-0 going into the eighth when Kirby Yates allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan Langerhans and Mike Nickeas, with an error by centerfielder Ismel Antunez allowing Langerhans to score the tying run. Peter Mooney was hit by a pitch and Jeff Tolisano singled to load the bases. Andy Burns then rolled a perfect double-play grounder that Kelly Johnson just couldn't handle, scoring Nickeas with the eventual game-winner.
After Adam Loewen struck out, Rasmus then uncorked a massive shot to right field that capped the inning.
Tampa Bay's only run came in the third inning, when Sean Rodriguez drew a walk and came around to score on a triple by Yunel Escobar.
The Rays heads to Sarasota Thursday for their final night game of the spring, taking on the Baltimore Orioles. David Price will get the start against Steve Johnson. First pitch is at 7:05. Coverage on 620 WDAE gets started at 7:00.