AJ had a rough start, giving up an opening single. But he picked off Darrin Mastroianni, a pretty accomplished base stealer. He then lost Jamey Carroll on a 3-2 pitch, but settled in afterward.
The Bucs struck first off Coles De Vries when Alex Presley led off with an infield knock and advanced a base when Travis Snider's fly dropped after two Twins bumped into one other. He went to third on a Cutch groundout and scored on a Clint Robinson sac fly.
The teams avoided the plate until the fifth, when the Twin City gang plated a pair. Brandon Boggs led off with a double up the first base line, went to third on a ground out and came home on a sac fly, a drive by Jasmil Pinto that was run down near the track sweetly by Cutch.
With two away, AJ lost Eduardo Escobar and reached his pitch limit of 65. In came Jared Hughes, who gave up a pop single to center and a hard single to left that scored Escobar easily on a weak throw home by Presley. He worked out of a bases loaded jam following a walk, spearing a hard hit ball through the box.
The Pirates tied it quickly, though, when Ivan DeJesus lined a homer into the left field boardwalk.
Minnesota took the lead in the seventh off Vin Mazzaro. Escobar doubled to right and a flare single by Ray Olmedo brought him home. The score stayed 3-2 til the ninth.
Andy Oliver was cursed by both bad luck and bad control. Two walks, two wild pitches, a ball hit too softly to break an egg that Drew Maggi couldn't convert, a one hop rocket to short that went off Jordy Mercer and a pop foul that Matt Curry called for and then dropped all combined to give the Twin Cities another pair of tallies. They'd need them.
The bases were full of Bucs with two out in the last half of the frame, thanks to a Lucas May single and walks to Jordy Mercer and Felix Pie. Brad Hawpe rolled over on a 3-2 pitch on the outside half, but bounced it into right to make it a 5-4 game. Darren Ford faced Virgil Vasquez with the game on the line. Ford softly rolled a swinging bunt toward third and was out on a bang-bang play at first. So was Pittsburgh.
Ah well, tomorrow is another day, with two games. One is against the Twins again, and another against Baltimore. Both are on the road tomorrow afternoon.
- The Turk is coming. Clint Hurdle told Tom Singer of MLB.com that the staff will meet after Monday's game to discuss first camp cuts. Tuesday is an off-day in exhibition play.
- IF Anderson Hernandez injured his shoulder last night against the Twins. It's being evaluated, but he'll definitely be out of action tomorrow.
- The WBC matches up Canada and the US tomorrow. Jameson Taillon will be on the bump for the Great White North club. Today, Chris Leroux started for Team Canada. He went 3 frames, giving up an unearned run on two hits and a walk with four whiffs against Mexico.