Well, two games in and the pitching has held its end of the bargain, as should be the case this early in the spring. The Pirates supported the effort from the hill by breaking the game open in the sixth, led by the guys battling for jobs.
Pittsburgh drew first blood in the fifth. After being going scoreless against Julio Teheran and Sean Gilmartin, Clint Barmes opened the scoring with a two run blast to left with Gaby Sanchez aboard off Johnny Venters. Jason Heyward cut the lead in half when he crushed one to straightaway center off Mark Melancon, making it 2-1. And no, they were both legit; the Florida breeze was blowing in today.
The Bucs put it away the next inning against David Carpenter. The regulars were out by that point, and the guys looking to fill out the roster took over. The first five Pirates - Matt Hague, Felix Pie, Ivan DeJesus, Clint Robinson and Brad Hawpe - got aboard and they all scored, with RBI knocks by DeJesus, Robinson, and Hawpe, whose single plated a pair. Darren Ford singled him home two outs later, and it was 7-1, time for the Fat Lady to get off her surfboard and start singing.
The Bucs scored twice more in the eighth on a Ford groundout and a Pie walk with the bases juiced. The Bravos added another run on Tyler Pastornicky's two out infield single off Justin Wilson to make the final 9-2.
Ford, Robinson - who spent time in the cage this morning with Mike Paglirarulo, Indy's batting coach - and Barmes had a pair of knocks. James McDonald and Jonathan Sanchez tossed two shutout frames each, while Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes and Tony Watson (who gave up a pair of hits) also threw goose eggs.
So far, so good. The Pirates travel to Fort Myers tomorrow to face the Minnesota Twins with Kyle McPherson on the bump. Game time is 1:05, with the contest aired on The Fan 93.7.