PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Rafael Soriano of Tampa Bay isn’t concerned about an ugly spring-training pitching line.

The Rays’ big offseason acquisition said Tuesday he’s been working on different facets of his game, not approaching one-inning exhibition outings the way the team is counting on him to close out games this year.

Soriano’s spring ERA climbed to 11.25 after allowing four runs, three hits, one walk and striking out two in the third inning of a 9-9 tie Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.

Soriano, obtained in a trade from Atlanta after leading the Braves with a career-high 27 saves in 31 opportunities last season, gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo and a two-run double to Tug Hulett.

“For me, it doesn’t matter,” said Soriano, who signed a $7.25 million, one-year contract after the Rays acquired him for pitcher Jesse Chavez in hopes of stabilizing the bullpen.

“How I’m pitching today, I don’t pitch like that. When I pitch the same (during the regular season) and that thing happened, I’d be mad. But today, no.”

Rizzo’s homer put the Red Sox up 6-0. Josh Reddick’s solo homer off Lance Cormier made it 7-4 in the fifth.

Boston fell behind twice before Kevin Frandsen’s ninth-inning RBI single made it 9-9.

Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon also downplayed Soriano’s performance.

Soriano began his spring with a pair of scoreless innings, but has allowed five runs over his last two innings. He’s walked two and struck out seven in the four innings.

“He’s fine. He’s working on some other things, his breaking ball,” Maddon said. “He really hasn’t uncorked his fastball and I’m fine with all that. He’s feeling good. None of that is a concern at all.”

Red Sox starter Casey Kelly allowed two runs and four hits in three innings. Daniel Bard allowed four runs in the seventh, giving up five hits.

Adrian Beltre had a two-run triple for the Red Sox.


NOTES: Maddon announced right-hander Jeff Niemann will start the third game of the season for the Rays, with left-handerDavid Price starting the fourth game and right-hander Wade Davis the fifth. Right-handers James Shields and Matt Garza hold the top two spots in the rotation. Red Sox right-hander Jonathan Papelbon and left-hander Hideki Okajima are scheduled to pitch in a minor- league game today in Fort Myers, Fla. Price allowed one hit, walked one and struck out eight in 62/3 scoreless innings of a minor-league game. … Tampa Bay optioned right-hander Dale Thayer to Triple-A Durham, reassigned right-hander Heath Rollins to minor-league camp and announced that first baseman Dan Johnson accepted an outright assignment to Durham.


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