The Bucs gave up scores in the first and last frames, but had enough thunder in between to drop the Red Sox in Bradenton today by a 4-3 count.
J-Mac continued his first inning woes - some things never change - when four of the first five Boston batters reached base. But he kept the inning in hand, giving up a pair, and went on cruise control for the next four frames, giving up a hit, two walks, and whiffing five to put up a line of 5 IP, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 K.
But he left down 2-1; Clay Buchholz gave up his only run of the spring so far when Neil Walker took him deep in the second - and that was the Bucs' only hit off Clay. Jason Grilli at long last got back on the hill for the Pirates, while Koji Uehara toed the rubber for the Bosox, and both put up goose eggs in the sixth.
Pittsburgh took the lead the following frame. Mark Melancon pitched a zippo seventh, and Gaby Sanchez went yard off Chris Carpenter with Josh Harrison aboard on a walk to give the Buccos a 3-2 lead. Chris Leroux pitched a perfect eighth.
The Fort welcomed Oscar Villareal with a homer in the Buc half. They looked like they were in business when they loaded the sacks with no outs after Jordy Mercer walked, JT singled, and Harrison dropped a bunt basehit to third. But the Pittsburgh bench fizzled; Jared Goedert went down swinging, Mel Rojas looking, and Carlos Paulino bounced out to second.
Fortunately, McHenry's dinger held up. Bryan Morris came on, and got the first two outs easily on grounders. Keury De La Cruz doubled and came around when Jeremy Hazelbaker rolled a ball through the right side. He stole second with The Fort behind the dish, but went no further as Morris got Ronald Bermudez on another grounder to earn the save.
Even though Pittsburgh was just 1-for-7 with RISP, those longballs are worth their weight in wins. The Bucs can put on their flip-flops now and take it easy. They're off tomorrow, their last break of camp.