Paul Maholm started and was OK except for a rough second inning, yielding a run on two hits in three innings and lowering his spring ERA to 1.80. He needed only 30 pitches to get through his outing. Donnie Veal continued his strong Sunshine State showing, pitching a perfect eighth frame.
Shelby Ford and Andy Phillips each had a pair of knocks to pace Pittsburgh. Luis Cruz, who was pulled Tuesday when his hip flexor flared up, returned and smacked a RBI single.
The 6-2 Pirates host the Rays at 1:05 p.m. at McKechnie Field tomorrow. Jimmy Barthmaier will start, followed by Virgil Vasquez, who is making his first outing of the spring after suffering from some arm soreness, and a string of relievers are slated to work afterwards.
* Where art thou, Steve Pearce? He's been out since February 26th with a strained calf, sez Tribune Review beat man Rob Biertempfel. Pearce is still day-to-day.
* Bucs in the WBC had good days, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette.
John Grabow made his debut with the U.S. team, pitching 2/3 of an inning in a 9-5 win against Philadelphia. He allowing one hit and plunked Ryan Howard.
Ramon Vazquez went 2 for 3 with an RBI for Puerto Rico vs. the Boston Red Sox, and Dave Davidson pitched a scoreless inning of relief, with two strikeouts, for Canada vs. the New York Yankees.
He also reports that Joe Kerrigan may start giving his relievers a couple of innings per outing instead of the traditional one and done, depending on the pitch count. It seems they've been throwing so well that they're not getting enough work in one frame.
* Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, in a Notes column, reports that:
Kyle Bloom remains very much alive in his quest to make the Tigers as a Rule 5 prospect. Bloom, a 26-year-old left-hander...allowed only one hit and a walk in two innings.Bloom pitched for Altoona last year, with a 5-8 record and 4.19 ERA, but made the MLB radar with a lights out performance in Hawaii, where he was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and made the All-Star team.
Bloom is known for his curveball, something the Tigers hoped he would display with regularity. "I need to use it more," Bloom said after Wednesday's stint. "I've got confidence I can get anyone out if I throw it for a strike."