Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns throws during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., Saturday, March 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio
March 14, 2015

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Nathan Karns, who is challenging for a job in the Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation, pitched four perfect innings as the Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Saturday.

Karns struck out two as the Orioles continued their offensive woes.

Baltimore, which fell to 3-10 and have lost eight of nine, didn't get a hit until Rey Navarro's leadoff single in the sixth. Steve Pearce homered in the seventh.

Brian Matusz, who normally relieves, got a start and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out three.

Rene Rivera hit a two-run homer for the Rays.

STARTING TIME

Rays: Karns liked pitching against Baltimore, who faced a group that included seven regulars. ''It's always going to be a challenge out there, facing all these hitters but if I want that position these are the lineups I'm going to be facing in the league so why not face them now and see what happens?'' Karns said.

Orioles: Matusz, who hasn't started a major league game since July 1, 2012 got the start and worked three scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out three.

''Once you get out there on the mound it's really the same game. You've still got to make pitches and get hitters out. But for the most part it was a challenge of finding that pregame preparation. I spent time this morning talking to Chris Tillman about his routine and what time he'd go out and play catch and things like that,'' Matusz said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Rays: It's possible that neither RHP Alex Colome or LHP Drew Smyly will be ready to start the season. Colome has been diagnosed with pneumonia and Smyly has tendinitis in his left shoulder.

Smyly was slated to be the No. 3 starter and Colome a contender to join the starting staff due to the absence of Matt Moore, who is still recovering from elbow surgery.

Colome, who was two weeks late reporting because of visa issues, is responding to medication.

''It's not the most ideal situation. They're still looking into some things, but just given what the doctors have found, it's going to be a little while until he gets back on the field,'' Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.

Smyly will play catch on Sunday. He has yet to appear in a game.

OF Brandon Guyer, who has been with a strained oblique muscle, should be ready to play Tuesday at Philadelphia.

WIETERS CATCHES: Matt Wieters caught against the Puerto Rico Development Program. He's scheduled to catch in a ''B'' game against Pittsburgh on Sunday and makes his catching debut against Minnesota on Tuesday - exactly nine months after his Tommy John surgery.

''You get the little bit of adrenaline and kind of see how it's going to be, nothing like a regular game would be. It's nice to get back there where you're going to have a little bit of adrenaline to fuel you a little bit,'' Wieters said.

Wieters said he has no set schedule after his first game.

''We've been kind of playing it by ear each day we come in so that the goal has been to try and get in a big league game on Tuesday. Every day we're going to see how it goes,'' Wieters said.

UP NEXT:

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese starts against New York Mets RHP Bartolo Colon on Sunday.

Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates' RHP Vance Worley.

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