Rays 9, Pirates 5
The Pirates opened the official Grapefruit League season with a loss to the Rays. The Pirates were held to just 6 hits. All but two were singles and all but one were by the established major leaguers. 1B Garrett Atkins smacked a ground rule double for an RBI in the top of the 9th, and C Dusty Brown singled moments later. LF Jose Tabata, 2B Neil Walker, 1B Lyle Overbay, and C Chris Snyder had the other hits. LF Alex Presley walked twice in two trips to the plate; the second walk came in the top of the 9th, with two outs and a runner on second base, and the Pirates management watching carefully to see how he’d handle the situation.
Charlie Morton pitched the first two innings for the Pirates. He had the lead-off batter reach base in both innings, on a walk and a single, but both times he got out of the innings courtesy of a double play. Brad Lincoln worked around 2 singles to keep the Rays from scoring in the 3rd, but gave up a solo home run to Evan Longoria in the 4th. Overall, an encouraging outing for Morton, and not too bad for Lincoln. Chris Resop also gave up a solo home run in the 5th, which tied the score at 2-2. After Daniel Moskos pitched a scoreless inning, Daniel McCutchen got into trouble in the 7th. A double and two walks loaded the bases, and another double cleared them, giving the Rays a 5-2 lead. Justin Thomas also struggled in his inning, the 8th, though the 4 runs that came in were all unearned, after a fielding error by 3B Josh Fields. Tom Boleska, up from minor league camp, finished the inning, giving up a single before getting the final out.
Other minor leaguers getting some playing time: 2B Josh Rodriguez, CF Gorkys Hernandez, SS Pedro Ciriaco.
Cheering for the Pirates’ farmhands and friends in Saturday’s winter league games…
Cardenales de Lara 2, Tigres de Aragua 1 – Brian Bass suffered the loss for Los Tigres, though he did not pitch poorly. Bass threw 7.2 innings and scattered 5 hits and 3 walks. He gave up a run on a single and a double in the 3rd inning, and another on a hit batter and a double in the 6th. A walk and a double play on a bouncer back to the mound started the 8th inning, then Bass was relieved. Los Tigres scored their only run in the 5th inning. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for SS Ronny Cedeno, whose sacrifice fly plated the run. Cedeno singled in the 1st inning. LF Lastings Milledge singled in the 4th inning, but he was picked off. DH Hector Gimenez doubled in the 8th, but was left on base. CF Jorge Cortes was the only Tigres batter with 2 hits, both singles. Romulo Sanchez pitched to two batters in the 6th for Lara — he walked Milledge, then got a ground out.
Navegantes del Magallanes 6, Leones del Caracas 3 – Sean Gallagher earned his third win for Magallanes, going 5 innings in this start. Gallagher faced only one batter over the minimum over the first three innings, allowing just a walk in the top of the 1st. He allowed a lead-off homer to DH Jesus Guzman in the 4th, then a single and a double in that inning. Guzman got to Gallagher again in the 5th, with a 2-run homer. Jean Machi earned his 5th save of the season with a scoreless top of the 9th for Magallanes, allowing only a single to
Tigres del Licey 5, Toros del Este 2 – C Jason Jaramillo drove in one of Los Toros’ runs with a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning, but Los Toros would not score after that. SS Pedro Ciriaco singled in the 9th innning, but was left on base. Los Tigres scored one run in the 3rd, and tied the game with a solo homer in the 5th. Licey took the lead in the 6th. Pinch-hitter Jake Fox began the rally with a single, and he came in on an RBI single. C Robinzon Diaz gave the team a pair of insurance runs with a 2-RBI single.