Lobaton's homer caps sixth-inning rally

Lobaton's homer caps sixth-inning rally

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jose Lobaton saved his first home run of the spring for the last game of spring in a 6-2 road win for the Rays over the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday.

Minnesota starter Liam Hendriks was strong until the Rays plated three in the sixth, all charged to him. Hendriks went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, walking none and striking out three. Lobaton's homer, a two-run shot to right-center, came with one out in the sixth on the first pitch and put Tampa Bay ahead, 3-2.

"The heat got to me a little bit, and with a couple of long innings of us hitting, it makes it a little bit difficult for me to get back out there and stuff like that," Hendriks said. "I'm not making any excuses. I just left a few pitches up."

Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson was knocked around the last time he pitched at the Twins' spring home, and he rebounded Tuesday with two runs allowed in four innings. Hellickson gave up six hits, walked none and struck out one after he gave up 10 runs in three innings at Hammond Stadium on March 24.

"I felt pretty good," Hellickson said. "I feel a little better every start and I feel like I'm ready for [my first regular-season start] Sunday."

Both of Minnesota's runs came in the fourth inning, when Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham doubled in succession to start the frame against Hellickson.

The Rays' Fernando Rodney returned to game action after a line drive caught him on the forearm last week. Rodney pitched a scoreless inning with one baserunner allowed on a walk. Rodney's health is particularly important with closer Kyle Farnsworth's throwing elbow in question.

Tampa Bay finishes spring 10-16-6, while Minnesota finishes 18-15-1.

Up next for the Rays: The Rays return to Tropicana Field at 1:40 p.m. ET Wednesday, when they play a game against the "Future Rays," a team made up of the organization's Minor Leaguers. Well, mostly Minor Leaguers. Lefty Matt Moore is going to be the starting pitcher for the futures team, with Wade Davis and J.P. Howell also scheduled to pitch for them. Manager Joe Maddon did not want low-level Minor Leaguers, who could potentially be wild, throwing to his Major League hitters. Righty Jeff Niemann starts for the Rays' regular squad.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.