Hey, it's one of those half-filled, half-empty glass kinda days. The Pirate batsmen banged out fifteen hits, drew eight walks, smacked three homers and scored fifteen runs. They lost.
The Pirate pitchers yielded fifteen hits, gave up seven walks, surrendered four homers, and let sixteen Ray runners cross the dish. Aye carumba! Maybe it was the thirty MPH winds; but then again...
The Bucs forged ahead 5-0 in the opening frame, powered by a three run Andy LaRoche bases-juiced double and a two-run Ronny Cedeno shot.
The Rays tied it an inning later, helped by three Kevin Hart walks and a single that Jose Tabata misplayed and turned into a four-sacker.
The Bucs kept nibbling, but a three-run fifth by Tampa against Jean Machi, who gave up a pair of dingers, and a seven-run seventh against Jeff Karstens and Ramon Aguero (who also gave up a pair of homers) was too much to overcome. Virgil Vasquez came on to give up a run in the ninth that would prove to be the coffin nail.
Still, some guys hung tough. Jack Taschner, Evan Meek, Jeremy Powell, and Donnie Veal all worked scoreless frames; Taschner, Powell, and Veal have yet to give up a run in Grapefruit play.
The Bucs had a chance; they scored four times in the ninth, but station-to-station running did them in. With runners on first and second, one out, and the score 16-15, Jonathan Van Every singled into right, but Young was held at third. And he died there when Brandon Jones K'ed and Jeff Clement popped up to the catcher.
Neil Walker, Delwyn Young, and Lastings Milledge led the hitting parade with a pair of knocks each; Walker and Young, who collected 4 RBI, went yard.
Walker especially has been taking advantage of limited opportunities; in 11 plate appearances, he has three hits, four walks, a homer, 2 RBI and 4 runs with a line of .429/.636/.857. Of course, an 0-for day could send those numbers crashing, just as his 2-for-2 day this afternoon sent them soaring, but so far, so good.
The Bucs send Ross Ohlendorf out against the Braves at Orlando tomorrow, but if the weatherman is right, it'll be a wash-out. And the clock is ticking. The Pirates have 66 guys in camp; the Turk should pop up this weekend.
-- The beat guys report that Octavio Dotel and Joel Hanrahan are throwing long-toss, but Hanrahan isn't expected to be ready when camp breaks.
-- Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette talked to Ramon Vazquez, who said that he was told as of today, he wouldn't be on the 25-man roster. Looking good for Delwyn Young...but there's still a couple of weeks to go.