Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two In A Row For the Buccos...

* In front of 7,900+ fans at the City of Palms Field, the Pirates scored three times in the ninth to squeeze out a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Grapefruit League play today.

The pitching again looked strong. Ian Snell walked a couple in the first, and they both scored thanks to a two-out bobble by Brian Bixler, who tried to reverse direction on a ball hit to his left and lost his footing.

The miscue juiced the sacks, and the next batter hit a Texas Leaguer into center, just in front of Andrew McCutchen, bringing home a pair.

Snell gave up a single to open the second, and then struck out the side. It'll be his last Pirate appearance for awhile, as he now heads off to represent Puerto Rico in the WBC.

Ross Ohlendorf pitched the next two frames and was el fuego, striking out three BoSox. Jimmy Barthmaier, Denny Bautista, Sean Burnett, Tyler Yates, and Daniel Haigwood sealed the deal.

Yates gave up a one-out single, and Haigwood walked a batter in the ninth; otherwise the staff was untouched, retiring 18 in a row at one point. Yates got the W and Haigwood earned the save.

Someone buy Joe Kerrigan a beer.

Pedro Alvarez got his first big bang of his career after Neil Walker and Jose Tabata walked, plating Walker. The first round pick shot a 3-1 pitch the opposite way for a double. Andy Phillips took one for the team, loading the bases.

A Steve Lerud bouncer to first tied it, and in a bit of sweet irony, Brian Bixler's grounder to short was booted, scoring Alvarez with the winning run.

It was a nice day for the youngsters at the dish. Besides Alvarez's big bop, Walker went 1-for-1 with a walk and run, while Shelby Ford went 1-for-2 with a steal.

Pittsburgh is home against the Braves tomorrow afternoon at McKechnie Field, with Tom Gorzelanny starting against Japanese right-hander Kenshin Kawakami.

* Doug Mientkiewicz signed a minor league deal with the LA Dodgers today. Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review said that Neal Huntington's story is:
"We offered Doug a minor league contract with a chance to come to major league spring training to make our club and showcase himself for other clubs. Doug chose the Dodgers because he felt he had a better chance to make that club."
Whatever; the Dirt Dog era is officially over.

* Biertempfel also noted yesterday that Steve Blass has been with the Pirates as a player, staff member and broadcaster for 50 seasons now. And he's done the organization proud during every one of them, whether the year was up or down for him personally.

* Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tells us that:
"(Will) Ohman, 31, has offers from the Pirates, Marlins and Padres, as first reported by, and is waiting for possible interest to develop from the Phillies, Mets and Dodgers."
Tick, tick, tick...

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