Kyle McPherson started and went 4-2/3 fairly brutal innings, giving up nine runs (eight earned), including blasts to Freddy Freeman and Andrelton Simmons. He surrendered ten hits and struck out three. The best that can be said about the outing is that McPherson didn't walk anyone.
Vin Mazzaro worked an inning following him, and was blistered for a six spot, with Freeman and Simmons going long off him. he gave up eight knocks and whiffed a pair; like McPherson, he didn't give up a walk. Tim Alderson came on to get the last out of the sixth, and it was Tony Watson's turn.
Watson, who was working on his delivery and some physical troubles, was greeted by a pair of singles and a bomb off the bat of Jordan Parraz in his frame. Jared Hughes, bless him, threw a clean eighth.
The Buc bats were alive, banging out 16 hits. Going into the bottom of the fifth, they had clawed back to cut the lead to 8-6 before the roof caved in. Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 with a homer, Jordy Mercer went 2-for-3 with a trip-trip-triple, The Fort had three RBI with a single and two sac flies and Alex Presley had a two-out, two-run single in his only AB. Felix Pie & Brandon Inge also came through with a pair of knocks.
The Pirates take on Baltimore tomorrow night and Jonathan Sanchez gets the start. His opt-out date of March 24th is right around the corner, so this could be a make-or-break start for the veteran lefty.
- The Bucs are taking their roster evaluations down to the wire; Wandy Rodriguez will throw 85-90 pitches in a minor league game tomorrow while the fringe guys get another look, per Kristy Robinson.
- Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette tweeted that "Neal Huntington said John McDonald will be Clint Barmes' primary backup." That makes that last bench spot in the infield quite a brawl; Harrison, Mercer, DeJesus and Presley have all had strong camps.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America announced guys who got an extra option year granted them by MLB. The Pirate trio are Pedro, Bryan Morris and Andy Oliver. That's good news for the Bucs, though Alvarez is hopefully established. Oliver gets an extra year of tinkering in the minors. Morris was out of options. He should make the 25-man roster this year on ability, but that extra option may delay his debut awhile while the FO sorts out its self-imposed logjam of arms.