The Bucs looked like they would get off to a fast start, but left the bases loaded in the first. In the second, Shelley Dincan went deep, and the Bucs answered with two outs in their half. McPherson and JT singled and Russell Martin roped a ground rule double to left; JT would have scored if the ball hadn't hopped into the stands. Still, that's four guys stranded in scoring position in two innings, and that's not good.
The Pirates took the lead in the third when Gaby Sanchez drew a free pass, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Josh Harrison's two-out knock. Both sides stranded a pair in the fourth, as the Pirates were walked twice and the Rays got men aboard on a Brandon Inge drop and single.
Pittsburgh went quietly in the fifth; not so Tampa Bay. With two outs, the roof fell in on McPherson. With a runner on first, Ben Zobrist cranked a long fly to right. baseball's a funny game; McP was an inch away from getting out off the frame: JT's leap to snag the ball wasn't quite Olympian enough, and it ticked off his mitt and into the stands. McPherson had another bad break when Neil Walker had a slight bobble to allow an infield knock, and that was followed by a booming blast to left by Evan Longeria that cleared the wall by fifty feet.
The game played out pretty quietly after that, with the Rays tacking on another tally off Vin Mazzaro in the sixth thanks to a walk, wild pitch and ground ball knock up the middle.
For the Bucs, it was a matter of stranding a dozen, blowing several golden chances early on, and not being able to corral that third out on time. For the Rays, it was long ball city, and that's a pretty good formula.
McPherson wasn't as bad as his final stat line, but his up and behind in the count too much; we'd guess he's taken himself out of the competition to break camp. And that's not much of a surprise; he's got the stuff to be a mid-rotation guy when it's clicking. But he's actually got more MLB innings than AAA on his resume (26-1/3 to 18-1/3), so a trip to Indy isn't the end of the world.
- Brandon Inge went 1-for-5, struck out twice and left eight runners. He made an error at first and hasn't done much to help himself in the battle for the pine.
- Rick Gurnick of MLB.com wrote that "Scouts from Seattle, Pittsburgh, Texas and Cleveland trekked to a back field on Monday to watch Chris Capuano pitch ...as the Dodgers step up efforts to move a surplus pitcher."He added that many of those same scouts will be around today for Aaron Harang's start.
- The Pirates' Easter Sunday workout will be open to all from 1-3 PM at PNC Park. Fans can enter at Legacy Square gates (LF entrance, where all the Negro League All-Star statues are).
- Erik Bedard has won a spot in the Astro's rotation. He signed a minor league deal with them and made the most of it; we'll see how long the good times roll for the talented but fragile lefty. Xavier Nady was cut by KC, which hopes to keep him in their system.