Pearce Is On, Pirates Win On Error

Pirates  5,  Rays  4
The Pirates won on a walk-off error in the bottom of the 9th inning this afternoon in Bradenton.  Pittsburgh had been leading 4-3 going into the top of the 9th, but a solo homer by Rays’ John Jaso tied the score, and made reliever Chris Leroux the victim of a Blown Save.  In the bottom of the inning, 2B Josh Rodriguez walked with one out.  A ground out moved Rodriguez to second.  CF Pedro Ciriaco grounded to third for what should have been the final out of the game, but Rays 3B Daniel Mayora made a wild throw to first, and the ball got away,  Ciriaco had been off and running, and he rounded third and scored on the error to give the Pirates the win.
The Rays had scored in the 2nd inning on a solo homer, and also began the 5th inning with a solo homer, both off Pirates’ starter Paul Maholm.  After the homer in the 5th, Maholm gave up another run on a double an an RBI single.  Joel Hanrahan pitched two hitless and scoreless innings, working around a fielding error by 1B Lyle Overbay in the 7th.  Leroux was credited with the win.

The Pirates tied the score at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the 3rd.  2B Neil Walker tripled to the wall in center field, then scored on CF Andrew McCutchen’s ground out.  When the Rays took a 3-1 lead in the top of the 5th,  LF Jose Tabata got the Pirates a run closer with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.  The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the 6th, when McCutchen led off with a walk.  RF Matt Diaz grounded into a force out, replacing McCutchen at first.  Diaz moved to third base on 3B Pedro Alvarez’s line drive double, and both Diaz and Alvarez both scored on C Ryan Doumit’s single lined into center field.  

Steve Pearce was officially informed that he will begin the season on the Pirates’ 25-man active roster.  John Bowker, who had a pinch-hit single in the 7th inning today, is still on the bubble, and his fate will probably be decided by what the Pirates do about their catchers — two or three catchers on the active roster?

The Indianapolis Indians had a day off today.  They have 6 more spring training games, with their last next Saturday.

Other news:  Former Pirate Nyjer Morgan was traded from the Washington Nationals to the Milwaukee Brewers today. 

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More Reassignments And Another Loss

Rays  9,  Pirates  5
The Pirates out-hit the Rays 10-9 this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Florida, but the Rays made the most of their opportunities and took the win.  The Pirates got busy in the top of the 1st, when Pedro Ciriaco, in center field again, opened the game with a single, then stole base.  He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on C Ryan Doumit’s double into right field.  RF Matt Diaz started the top of the 2nd with a single, and advanced to third base on a throwing error.  He scored on a wild pitch.  1B Andy Marte doubled, was bunted over to third base, and scored on starting pitcher Charlie Morton’s soft looper single into left field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.  
The lead did not last long.  Morton got out of the first inning with a double play, but began the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a double, a bunt, and a hi batter.  A 2-RBI double and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for the Rays to tie the game.  The Pirates took the lead again in the 4th.  Marte led off with a single into right field, and 2B Corey Wimberly reached on a fielding error.  Morton bunted them up one base each, then both scored on SS Josh Rodriguez’s line drive single into right.  
Morton sailed through the bottom half of the 3rd and 4th innings, but loaded the bases again in the 5th, on a walk and two singles.  Then he got wild and forced in one run with a hit batter, and a second run with a walk, and the game was again tied, at 5-5.  Morton got out of the inning with two fly outs, and a force out at the plate on a little dribbler that did not leave the home plate area.  
Joel Hanrahan took over on the mound for the 6th inning.  He retired the first two batters he faced, then walked the next two.  A wild pitch moved the two runners up to second and third base, then an RBI single brought in both runners, giving the Rays a 7-5 lead.  Jose Veras pitched a perfect 7th inning, with one strikeout.  The Rays scored 2 more runs off Chris Resop in the 8th inning.  A double, and a bunt back to the mound that turned into a single, put two runners on base.  A sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a triple plated the second.  

2B Gift Ngoepe led off the top of the 9th with a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer singled through to left field, but both were left on base.  LF Evan Chambers, 3B Andy Vasquez, RF Robby Grossman, and 1B Matt Hague also got into the game. 

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this afternoon in Bradenton.  No word as yet — results from the minor league camp can be hit or miss.

The Pirates pared down their camp roster by four more this morning.  Pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he could either be a starter or pitch in long relief.  Relievers Tyler Yates and Sean Gallagher were also reassigned to minor league camp, and are both expected to go to the Indy Indians’ bullpen.  C Wyatt Toregas and INF Josh Fields were also reassigned to minor league camp.  

Pitcher Fernando Nieve, who was reassigned to the minor league camp on Monday and released on Tuesday, was not unemployed for long.  On Thursday, he signed a minor league contract with the Astros.  

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Homers for Alvarez and McCutchen In Pirates’ Loss

Astros  10,  Pirates  6
The Astros and the Pirates had a hit-fest this afternoon in Bradenton, combining for 30 hits (14 for the Pirates).  But even with a solo homer by 3B Pedro Alvarez and a 2-run blast by CF Andrew McCutchen, it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to take the win.   Starter Brian Burres struggled trhough 5 innings and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits.  The Astros jumped right on Burres in the top of the 1st, scoring 2 runs on a single, a walk, an RBI double, and a sacrifice fly.  McCutchen tied the score with his homer in the bottom of the 1st.  The Pirates took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Ryan Doumit led off with a single up the middle.  SS Ronny Cedeno doubled, putting two runners into scoring position.  Burres chopped an infield grounder that let Doumit score, and LF Jose Tabata’s sacrifice fly brought in Cedeno.  But the Astros kept coming at Burres, with a solo homer in the top of the 3rd, then 3 more runs in the 5th.  Two singles and a fielding error by RF Matt Diaz tied the score, and a double and a sacrifice fly drove in 2 more runs, to give the Astros a 6-4 lead.  Alvarez’s homer got the Pirates within one run again in the bottom of .  2B Neil Walker got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a double, scoring on a single and a sacrifice fly by 1B Lyle Overbay.  The Astros put the game away in the top of the 9th.  With Tyler Yates on the mound, three consecutive singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave the Astros 3 more runs.  

Chris Resop gave up a double but kept the Astros from scoring in the 8th inning.  Mike Crotta pitched a perfect 6th inning, continuing his scoreless streak for the spring.  2B Pedro Ciriaco singled and pinch-hitter Steve Pearce doubled in the game, both boosting their cause as they try to make the Opening Day roster.  LF John Bowker, CF Corey Wimberly, C Dusty Brown, and SS Josh Rodriguez all got into the game.  

The Indianapolis Indians did not have a scheduled game today.   
The members of the 2010 Altoona Curve were presented with their championship rings before the Pirates’ game today. 

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Three Hits For Cedeno With Indy; Olson Debuts For Pirates

Iron Pigs  6,  Indians  5

The Indianapolis Indians ended their 4-game spring training winning streak with a loss today to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno came to minor league camp to DH in the game and posted 3 hits for the Tribe.  OF Andrew Lambo singled and tripled for the Indians, and his triple in the 4th inning brought in one run.  The score was tied at 4-4 going into the top of the 9th, with reliever Tom Boleska on the mound for the Indians.  He gave up 3 hits, including an RBI single by former Pirate Brandon Moss, plus a sacrifice fly, to give the Iron Pigs a 6-4 lead.  The Indians got within one run when INF Jim Negrych got on and was brought across the plate by INF Josh Harrison’s RBI single.  Lambo’s single loaded the bases with one out.  But a double play ended the inning and the game with the Indians unable to catch up.  

Twins  4,  Pirates  1

Newest Pirate LHP Garrett Olson made his debut with his new team this afternoon, as the Pirates lost to the Twins in Bradenton.  Olson came on in relief to pitch the 8th inning, and retired the side in order with a pop out, a fly out, and a ground out.  
Paul Maholm made the start for the Pirates.  He pitched 6 innings and gave up 9 hits and 2 walks, but allowed only 2 runs.  With two outs in the 3rd, Maholm gave up a single, then made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, which put the runner into scoring position.  A single by C Joe Mauer brought in the run.  The second run scored in the 5th, when a double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  A grounder to short started a double play, but the runner from third still scored.  
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Indians, allowing just a double.  Anthony Claggett took the 9th, and he gave up the remaining two Twins’ runs.  A walk and a single put runners on the corners, then a ground out plated the first run.  A fielding error by SS Pedro Ciriaco allowed the runner from second base to come around and score.   
The Pirates’ only run scored in the 2nd inning, and was unearned.  A fielding error on a force attempt gave the Pirates runners on first and second.  C Jason Jaramillo lined a single into center field for the RBI, as RF Matt Diaz scored from second base.  
The Pirates had just 6 hits in the game, including one by LF Steve Pearce.  That gives Pearce 9 hits over his last 9 games (9-for-19,  .474), and a .308 average overall.  LF John Bowker and C Dusty Brown also singled.   CF Corey Wimberly, 2B Shelby Ford, 1B Josh Fields, pinch-hitter Starling Marte, and 3B Andy Marte all got into the game.  

The Pirates have a day off on Tuesday. 

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Morton Looks Good, As Does Owens

Pirates  3,  Astros  1
Starter Charlie Morton continued to show the Pirates’ management that he belongs in the starting rotation with a 6-inning shutout performance today in Kissimmee, Florida.  Morton scattered 4 hits over his 6 innings and did not walk a batter.  He struck out 5 Astros.  C Humberto Quintero had two of those hits — a single in the 3rd, when he reached as far as third base before being stranded, and a two-out single in the 5th.  Astros’ starter Jordan Lyles followed that second single with a line drive into left field, and Quintero raced around the bases.  Pirates’ LF Josh Fields got the ball back into the infield quickly, and Quintero was caught in a run-down and tagged out by C Ryan Doumit.  Evan Meek and Chris Leroux each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Neither gave up a hit, but both worked around base runners who got on due to fielding errors.   SS Benji Gonzalez had a tough afternoon, with a fielding error in the 7th, back-to-back fielding errors in the 8th, then another fielding error in the 9th that lead to an unearned run.  With Mike Crotta on the mound in the 9th, the error, a single, and a walk loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly drove in the Astros’ only run.  Crotta has not allowed an earned run in his previous 6 appearances (8.1 innings).  

SS Ronny Cedeno provided the Pirates with their first 2 runs, on a 2nd-inning home run that followed Josh Fields’ double.  Ryan Doumit picked up the RBI in the 3rd inning with a triple into left field, driving in 1B Andy Marte, who had singled.  Steve Pearce, who started at third base today, singled twice in the game.  CF Pedro Ciriaco, 2B Corey Wimberly, RF Cole White, 1B Garrett Atkins, and pinch-hitter Josh Rodriguez also got into the game.  

More roster moves are expected on Monday, as the Pirates head into the final full week of spring training.

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