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Lyles endures tough first start against Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's offense got going Tuesday in a rain-shortened 7-2 win over Houston at Charlotte Sports Park. The game was called before the bottom of the sixth inning.

David Price started for the Rays, allowing no runs in one inning in his first appearance of the spring.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner threw a brief scare into the Rays' dugout when Astros leadoff man Marwin Gonzalez hit a ball back through the box. Price tried to stop it with his left hand, and the ball ricocheted off his wrist to shortstop Ben Zobrist, who threw to first for the out. Happily for the Rays, Price was fine and did not require any attention.

"It didn't hurt, so I'm fine," Price said.

Brandon Barnes followed with a single to center, then stole second. Center fielder Sam Fuld made a diving backhanded catch and quickly got to his feet to keep Barnes from advancing to third.

Barnes eventually stole third, but that was as far as he got as Price retired Nate Freiman on a fielder's choice to end the inning.

"It's the best I've felt since I've been here, so it's good," Price said. "It's the most free my arm's felt. ... It felt good. Everything felt good. It's always a good sign when you can go out there and my arm can be free and easy. I still have to get back to throwing strikes."

Evan Longoria, who missed time last week due to the birth of his daughter, made his first start of the spring and blooped a single to right off Jordan Lyles in the first. Later in the inning, Shelley Duncan singled to left to drive home Ryan Roberts. Longoria also tried to score from second on the play, but he was thrown out at the plate.

Longoria added an RBI single in his second at-bat and scored on Leslie Anderson's two-run triple during the Rays' five-run second.

Lyles, who is earmarked to be the Astros' No. 3 starter, allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in two innings.

"I felt good," the pitcher said. "I'm not worried about the results right now; it's too early for that. I'm just focused on throwing the ball over the plate, throwing quality strikes. I just tried to split the plate in half today, tried to throw the ball over the plate, and tried to mix in my changeup when I had to. I felt fine, and that's a positive sign. But I'm not going to get too worried about the results right now."

Up next: Alex White, acquired from the Rockies in a trade for Wilton Lopez in December, will make his first start of the spring for the Astros when they travel to Dunedin, Fla., to meet the Blue Jays on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Brad Lincoln will start for Toronto.

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

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }