Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bucs Snap Streak, Win 5-4

Paul Maholm worked five innings, gave up five hits, three earned runs, struck out five and yielded two home runs as the Pirates topped the Rays 5-4 this afternoon.

The Rays went up in the second when Kelly Shoppach blasted a solo homer; the Bucs tied it in the third when Neil Walker scored on a McCutch bounce-out.

Ben Zobrist put Tampa back up with a solo shot in the fifth, and Reid Brignac's single that plated Elliot Johnson later in the frame upped the lead to 3-1. Jose Tabata answered with a bomb of his own to make it 3-2.

An inning later, Dewey gave the Bucs a 4-3 lead with a clutch two-out double that sent McCutch and Pedro home. The game stayed that way until the ninth thanks to Joel Hanrahan, who tossed two scoreless innings and K'ed three.

John Jaso tied the game with yet another solo blast, this one off Chris Leroux. The Pirates were handed a gift and the game when third baseman Daniel Mayora threw away a Pedro Ciriaco grounder, allowing Josh Rodriguez to scamper home with the game-ending run.

The Pirates play their final game in Florida tomorrow when they square off against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers at 1:05 PM. Jeff Karstens will start for Pittsburgh against the Twin's Francisco Liriano in a warm-up outing in case J-Mac can't go next week.

Then the team jumps on the big bird and flies north to Philadelphia to play exhibition games against the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday, then on to Wrigley Field for the opener against the Cubbies on Friday. It's almost showtime.

-- McKechnie Field drew 88,003 fans during the Grapefruit League season, a new home attendance record.

-- The Pirates broke a five game losing streak with today's win, but still have lost nine of their last dozen games.

-- Pirate killer Mike Hampton officially retired. He was 14-3 with a 2.38 ERA against Pittsburgh during his career.

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