Blue Jays 5, Pirates 0
The Pirates were held to just 4 hits in this afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays at McKechnie Field. 3B Pedro Alvarez had two of the hits — a two-out single up the middle in the 1st inning, and a single on a pop up in the 6th. The single in the 1st moved CF Andrew McCutchen, who had walked, to third base, and the single in the 6th followed a line drive double by 2B Pedro Ciriaco and moved Ciriaco to third base. Both times, however, the innings ended without the Pirates being able to get the run in. The only other hit in the game was by 2B Brian Friday, who led off the top of the 9th by beating out a grounder to third. After a strikeout, 1B Andy Marte walked, putting two runners on base. But pinch-hitter Gift Ngoepe struck out and C Jason Jaramillo grounded out to end the game.
James McDonald made the start and was responsible for 4 of the Jays’ runs. He gave up a double, two singles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly for 2 runs in the top of the 1st. He retired the side in order in the 2nd, but got into trouble again in the 3rd. A double and a throwing error by SS Corey Wimberly gave the Jays a run in the 3rd. With two outs and a runner on second base, McDonald had reached his pitch limit (about 50 pitches), and he was relieved by Justin Thomas. Thomas gave up an RBI single and a walk, then ended the inning with a strikeout. Chris Resop surrendered the remaining Toronto run in the 5th. Back-to-back doubles by former Pirate Jose Bautista (who went 3-for-3) and Travis Snyder brought in that run. Resop struck out the next two batters, and ended the inning with a ground out. Joel Hanrahan, Aaron Thompson, Daniel McCutchen, Justin Wilson, and Jeff Locke each pitched one scoreless inning for the Pirates. McCutchen gave up two hits and Locke gave up one. Wilson walked one batter and struck out the other three he faced.
Also in the game: SS Chase d’Arnaud, LF Gorkys Hernandez, CF Alex Presley, RF Andrew Lambo, 3B Garrett Atkins.
Pirates 4, Blue Jays 1
Pitchers were the story for the Pirates this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Five Pirates’ pitchers combined to hold the Blue Jays to 4 hits this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Charlie Morton made his second strong start in the Grapefruit League. He gave up one run in the top of the 1st, courtesy of two former Pirates: CF Rajai Davis led off with a double, legged out when LF Matt Diaz was a little slow in picking up (the Pirates should have anticipated Davis’ speed). 3B Jose Bautista drove the run in with a single slipped through into left field. Morton ended the inning by inducing a double play, then he retired the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. That included a nice barehanded snatch of a bunt attempt, and a whirl to throw the batter out at first. Brad Lincoln buzzed through the next three innings, retiring all 9 batters he faced. Morton and Lincoln each struck out one batter, and neither gave up a walk. Tyler Yates and Jeff Locke each took an inning, and neither gave up a hit, though Yates walked one. Cesar Valdez gave up the other two Jays’ hits in the 9th inning. After a strikeout, he surrendered two singles, and with a wild pitch, that gave him runners on the corners. But he picked the runner off first, then ended the game with a strikeout.
The Pirates’ hitters were having some trouble with Blue Jays’ starter Brett Cecil. Cecil struck out 5 of the first 6 Pirates’ batters, and allowed only one hit, a double by C Jason Jaramillo, in the 3rd inning. Jaramillo doubled again to lead off the 6th inning. CF Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, then a ground out put both runners into scoring position. 3B Pedro Alvarez drove in both with a standing triple into the right field corner, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. They added a run in the 7th, when 2B Brian Friday doubled into left field with two outs, then scored on C Dusty Brown’s single. Another two-out rally provided the Pirates’ fourth run in the top of the 9th. SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a singled into right field, then stole second base. 3B Josh Rodriguez slipped a single into left field, and Ciriaco came around to score. Rodriguez also stole second base, and Brown was hit by a pitch, but the rally ended when CF Corey Wimberly popped out.
Also getting into the game: Jeremy Farrell pinch-hit (ground out) in the 8th inning; his father, John Farrell, is the new manager of the Blue Jays. 1B Josh Fields, LF Alex Presley, RF Gorkys Hernandez, and 3B Andy Marte also played.
The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):
Orioles 6, Pirates 4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp. 1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th. 3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning. LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.
LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte, 1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.
Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates. He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd. Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th. He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run. Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th. A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners. Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame. Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.
Pirates 21, Manatee-Sarasota 1 (7 innings)
The Pirates’ top prospects and players fighting for a major league job got the chance to show off their stuff this afternoon in the Pirates’ annual charity game against the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota. The Pirates pounded out 20 hits, including home runs by 1B Garrett Atkins and 2B/3B Brian Friday. Atkins and Josh Fields, who took turns as the DH, and at third and in left field, each had 3 hits. 2B Corey Wimberly, 1B Steve Pearce, CF Gorkys Hernandez, Friday, C Wayne Toregas, and C Tony Sanchez all had 2 hits. Pearce’s two hits were both doubles, and along with a walk, he drove in 4 runs. Atkins and Hernandez each had 3 RBI. The Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the 1st, with 3 runs. Pearce’s first double drove in two, then a sacrifice fly by RF Andrew Lambo brought in Pearce. Wimberly began a rally in the bottom of the 2nd with a double, and the rest of the Pirates took off, adding 7 more runs in that inning. The Pirates scored in each of their 6 at-bats (it was only scheduled for 7 innings).
The Pirates’ pitchers were not to be outdone. Aaron Thompson began the game by striking out the Manatees in order in the top of the 1st. Tyler Yates pitched the 2nd, and gave up the lone Manatees’ run on a single, a wild pitch, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly. Yates gave up another single before ending the inning. Jeff Locke surrendered a single in his scoreless inning, as did Rudy Owens. Mike Crotta struck out the side, and Justin Wilson and Kyle McPherson both struck out 2 batters without allowing a hit.
Gone for a few days, and all kinds of changes going on….
The Pirates have removed starting pitcher Zach Duke, infielder Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Delwyn Young from their 40-man roster.
Duke (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians on Opening Day in 2005, the beginning of the Pirates’ affiliation with the Indians. Duke faced the rehabbing Curt Schilling, and he and the Indians beat Schilling pretty easily.
The open spots on the 40-man roster, plus two other already open spots, went to a group of minor league pitchers:
Mike Crotta, a righty who made 4 starts for Altoona before he was promoted to Indianapolis. He made 24 starts for the Indians and pitched 131.1 innings, with a 4.93 ERA.
Daniel Moskos, who split the season between the Indy Indians and the Altoona Curve. The lefty was outstanding for the Curve, with a 1.52 ERA and 21 saves, though he struggled for the Indians, where he earned a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings of relief.
Tony Watson, another lefty who spent the season with the Curve. He made a few starts (9) but mostly worked in relief, earning a 2.67 ERA in 111.1 innings.
Jeff Locke, split the season between Altoona and the Bradenton Marauders. After earning a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts for Bradenton, Locke was promoted to AA, where the southpaw made an additional 10 starts and earned a consistent 3.59 ERA.
Kyle McPherson, a right-hander who spent most of the season with A-level West Virginia. McPherson made 21 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Power, with a 3.59 ERA in 117.2 innings, though he had some hot and cold swings. McPherson also pitched 4 scoreless innings for Bradenton in September.