Pittsburgh tied it in the third when The King walked and Felix Pie doubled him home with two down. They took the lead the next frame off starter Alex Cobb. The Fort and Josh Harrison singled and were moved up 90 feet on a Jordy Mercer bunt. Newcomer John McDonald singled home McKenry and a Garrett Jones fly chased in Harrison.
Jason Grilli tossed a quiet fifth. Mike Zagurski came on in the sixth with a golden opportunity. With Tony Watson looking shaky, there's an opening for a lefty on the roster. But alas, as happened the last two times out, he sailed on rough seas. Ben Zobrist greeted him by going yard to left. A lined single, stolen base and double brought home another run. After getting a fly out, a walk and a double made it 4-3 Tampa, with runners at second and third and one down.
His Bucco teammates bailed him out. Jordy Mercer turned a grounder into an unlikely DP with a heads-up play, tossing to John McDonald to nail the back runner, who then gunned the ball home to get the lead guy at the plate.
Mark Melancon and Jared Hughes kept it close, and then the Pirates made their move.
With two away in the eighth, Jeff Larish doubled off Dane de la Rosa, followed by a Lucas May walk. Then WBC/Olympian Aussie Stefan Welch, who played 1B for Bradenton and Altoona last year, dinged a three-run homer off reliever Kirby Yates as the Bucco B Team carried the day.
Tim Alderson, the one-time wunderkind, worked the ninth and gave up a hit and punched out a pair to save the win.
Pittsburgh takes on Boston tomorrow afternoon with Jeff Locke on the bump.
- Brandon Inge was removed from the lineup today due to lingering discomfort as a result of being hit by a pitch in right shoulder blade on March 14th. X-rays taken in the morning proved negative.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculates "I am wondering if there is at least the beginning of discussions on a trade package built around Aardsma going to Pittsburgh and one of the first basemen coming back to the Yanks."
- RHP Todd Redmond, who the Bucs traded way back when for Tyler Yates in one of the current FO's first transactions, was released by the Orioles and quickly claimed by the Blue Jays. SS Ronny Cedano wasn't quite as popular; he cleared waivers after the Cards released him.