SARASOTA, Fla. — After combining for 12 hits over their first two games this spring, the Pirates bats belted out 18 hits off the Baltimore Oriole’s pitchers in the 10-3 win at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarastota, Fla on Monday.
Leading the hot bucco bats was infielder Matt Hague, who in his first Major League camp is looking to make the big league club. Hague went 3-for-4 with a run and three RBI batting cleanup as the Bucs designated hitter.
“He’s finding grass. He hit one over the wall,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “I told him to give away his gloves. We’re going to get him out on the field here sooner than later, but we’re just making sure we feed him some at-bats early. So far as advertised. We’ll just continue to get him work. We’ll get him on both corners as well. He’s been a professional hitter throughout his career.”
The Pirates quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off lefty Brian Matusz. Alex Presley hit a single into shallow left field to leadoff the game. Josh Harrison then laced a double down the left field line to score Presley from first base. With one out, Harrison on third, Hague, who was the designated-hitter for the second straight game, hit a RBI single up the left side.
The Pirates tacked on another run in the 2nd inning. Presley, who finished the day 3-for-3, hit a RBI single to score Garrett Jones.
“Speed shows up everyday,” Hurdle said. “Speed can keep you out of an extended slump. I think that our guys, they work extremely hard on utilizing the bunt as well. You saw Marte do it tonight…But it’s got to be a part of what we do. We do think we’ve got more useable power than what we were able to throw out last year.”
In the 3rd, Hague took a 0-1 pitch for a two-run homer to left center field. It marked Hague’s first home run in big league spring training. In 2011, Hague had three at-bats (1-for-3, two RBI) when he came over from minor league camp.
“Speeds got to play for us,” Hurdle said. “We’ve got to find guys to score whether we speed surprise, or power. Our guys know the importance of getting down the line, you put a ball in play, you get down there good things will happen. Whether it be just beating a ball out, whether it be putting a bunt down.”
The Pirates tacked on three more runs off the O’s in the 4th. Starling Marte lead off the inning with a single, swiped second and scored when Alex Presley hit a RBI triple to deep center field over the head of Adam Jones. Hague hit into a fielders choice, the O’s second baseman Robert Andino’s throw to first resulted in an error allowing Navarro to score.
The Pirates plated two more runs in the 5th inning after Robbie Grossman, who replaced Presley in left, hit a RBI single. The second run came after the Orioles made a throwing error.
Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes made his spring debut tonight against his former club, the Orioles, who he spent part of the 2011 season with, and said he was happy with his overall performance. Reyes allowed one run (unearned) on three hits over 1.2 innings.
“I think the first inning I threw too many 3-2 counts,” Reyes said. “But the good thing about it I was missing down. I wasn’t erratic. I was just missing, so that was a good feeling about today.”
With two outs in the first inning, Mark Reynolds hit a pop up to right field for a routine out to end the inning, but Starling Marte lost the ball in the lights to score Adam Jones from first. It marked Marte’s second error in his past two games.
“Everybody’s been telling me it’s his first big league spring training so he probably has those jitters. He’s going to be a pretty good ballplayer once he hones everything in,” Reyes said. “It’s nothing new, it’s just another ballgame. The young guys will learn that. No matter what they do in the minor leagues it’s the same thing as up here.”
Reyes started his second inning by giving up back-to-back singles to start the frame. After retiring his next two batters, Reyes was pulled after reaching his pitch limit. Right-hander Michael Dubee, who was an extra arm in the ‘pen from Minor League camp, stuck out Nolan Reimold to end the inning.
“I think it went really well,” Reyes said of his outing. “A little damage control in that last inning, but I felt good. The ball was coming out good. The hitters were telling me that my stuff was pretty good tonight.”
Reyes said he was throwing all his pitches tonight. But in particular, Reyes thought his fastball was pretty good tonight.
“It had pretty good movement away from the hitter,” Reyes said.
Overall, the Pirates pitching staff tonight was very good. Following Reyes, the Pirates relievers combined to throw seven innings allowing two runs (none earned) on three hits with seven strikeouts.
“The pitching was very good for us, very good,” Hurdle said. “Catch a couple fly balls and we might keep them off the board all together. But Reyes did a nice job. He could have gotten out of that inning unscathed but his pitch count just got him…He threw strikes. It was good to see him out there. I thought he handled himself very well.”
- Relief: Michael Dubee 0.1 IP, K; Justin Wilson: 2IP, 3K, BB; Jared Hughes IP, H, K; Duke Welker IP, H, 2R, 0ER, BB, K; Bryan Morris IP; Mike Crotta IP, K; Tim Wood IP
- Presley went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored; Josh Harrison 1-for-2 with a double, run, walk, RBI; Yamaico Navarro 2-for-3, RBI; Matt Hague 3-for-4 with a run and three RBI ; Starling Marte 3-for-3 with a stolen base.
Tuesday Game Info:
- The Pirates will face the New York Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 at McKechnie Field. Right-hander Kevin Correia will start for the Bucs against C.C. Sabathia.
- Following Correia in relief are: Daniel McCutchen, Doug Slaten, Chris Resop, Tony Watson, Chris Leroux, Ryota Igarashi and Juan Cruz.
- Tuesday’s lineup against the Yankees:
Jose Tabata 9
Clint Barmes 6
Andrew McCutchen 8
Casey McGehee 3
Neil Walekr 4
Rod Barajas 2
Yamaico Navarro DH
Nick Evans 5
Brandon Boggs 7
- Extras: Jeff Clement, Nate McLouth, Jordy Mercer, Starling Marte, Eric Fryer, Jake Fox, Anderson Hernandez, Ramon Cabera, Robbie Grossman