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Pelfrey solid in second start, but offense falters


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays defeated the Twins, 7-2, on Sunday at Charlotte Sports Park. The Rays went out in front for good after a three-run fifth inning. Kelly Johnson broke a 1-1 tie in the inning with a two-run double.

David Price made his second start of the spring and the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner looked dominant holding the Twins scoreless on one hit, while striking out five in three innings. Of the 41 pitches Price threw, 29 were for strikes.

"In the bullpen we figured some stuff out that I was doing last year that I was kind of drifting towards home plate," Price said. "Just being able to stay back makes everything a lot easier, allows my arm to be able to catch up to my body. It allows me to be able to throw the ball where I want to, and that's what I did today."

Jamey Wright took over for Price in the fourth and surrendered a leadoff double to Brian Dozier, who moved to third on Jose Lobaton's passed ball. He then scored on Trevor Plouffe's two-out single to put the Twins up, 1-0.

Mike Pelfrey started for the Twins. The right-hander, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, is in competition for a spot in the back end of rotation.

Pelfrey allowed no runs on one hit and a walk in three innings. He threw 39 pitches of which 24 were strikes.

Yunel Escobar laced a single off Alex Burnett with two outs in the fourth and moved to second on Mike Fontenot's single to center and scored on James Loney's single to left to tie the score at 1.

In the fifth, Jared Burton came on to pitch and allowed three runs on four hits, including the two-run double to Johnson. Matt Joyce drove in the third run of the inning on an RBI double.

Up next: Right-hander Cole De Vries will make his first Grapefruit League start on Monday against the Cardinals in Jupiter in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Roger Dean Stadium. De Vries is aiming for a spot in the rotation after being a pleasant surprise last season with a 4.11 ERA in 17 outings with the Twins. Right-hander Lance Lynn is slated to start for St. Louis.

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

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