Thursday, March 7, 2013

Too Little, Too Late: Bucs Fall To Rays 4-2

J-Mac wasn't exactly overwhelming, but he did put together his best outing of the spring. He went four shutout frames, giving up only one hit with a whiff, but three walks and a hit batter kinda took the tarnish off that line.

He gave up a single to Desmond Jennings to open the game, but caught him leaning and picked him off. In the second, he walked the first two hitters, but Jack Cust went after the first pitch following those free passes and banged into a 4-6-3 DP. The next frame featured a two-down beaned batter and two base error by Brad Hawpe, but McDonald got Ryan Roberts to fly out to left to halt that threat. He nearly got out of the fourth with a clean frame, spoiled only by a two-out walk.

McDonald again mainly worked on the fastball, so that makes the control issues and lack of punch outs a concern right now. As for the Buc batters, they managed one hit, a Josh Harrison single, off Alex Cobb in the same span, except with five K.

The fifth and sixth went quietly, with Mark Melancon and Jeanmar Gomez pitching goose egg frames while the Pirate bats continued to flounder. But a two-out error opened the floodgates for the Rays in the seventh.

Gomez gave up a one-down double to Chris Jiminez, who moved to third an out later. Gaby Sanchez made a nice backhand stop of Jason Bourgeois' grounder, but rushed the throw and skipped it into the stands. Three singles and a double later, and the Rays were cruisin' with a 4-0 lead.

Wilson left the bases loaded in the eighth, giving up a hit and a couple of walks, and Hunter Strickland tossed a shutout ninth, stranding a walk and a knock at second and third. The Bucs tried to rally with two down in the ninth. Matt Hague singled, Jared Goedert walked and both came home on Russell Martin's two-out, two-strike double off Jake Odorizzi. But that was the last hurrah as they went down 4-2.

Pittsburgh hosts the O's tomorrow night at McKechnie Field in a TV game. Kyle McPherson will do the honors for the Pirates.

  • Garrett Jones has a minor left oblique strain. He missed today and will take tomorrow off while playing the weekend by ear, tweeted Karen Jones of the Tribune-Review.

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