Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Twins Rally For Late 7-4 Win; AJ's Last Spring?

Well, AJ's first frame went like a lot of other frames so far this spring. Bryan Buxton led off with a bouncer up the middle, stole second, went to third when Russell martin's throw went astray and scored on a groundout.

The Bucs tied it their half off Vance Worley. Garrett Jones, Cutch and Pedro singled to load the sacks with an out. The Kid grounded out to bring home Jones. Martin got plunked to juice them again with two away, but Travis Snider looked at strike three to close out the inning.

The Twinkies took the lead again in the second when a beaned batter and two-out double plated a run. The Bucs tried to answer again. Josh Harrison doubled and Starling Marte singled to put runners on the corners with one away, but Jones went down looking and Cutch flew out the opposite way. But they did get the equalizer a frame later when Pedro went yard to knot it at 2-2 after three.

The middle three innings went by without any further damage. AJ went just 3 IP, giving up 2 runs on four hits with 2 K; maybe the 55 degree weather had something to do with the quick hook. Jeanmar Gomez came on, and worked out of a fifth inning jam, stranding a pair and aided by a throw-out of a stealer by Martin.

There were a lot of moving parts that added up to a Twin run in the seventh. The first batter singled, but was erased when Martin nailed him trying to swipe second. Gomez walked Bruxton - note to Jeanmar; try not to walk leadoff guys - and he did swipe second.

The next guy whiffed, and Hurdle brought in Chris Leroux. A Bucco blast from the past, Eric Fryer, greeted him with a single through the right side. The throw home was late, and Martin's relay to second got away; Fryer ended up at third. Leroux reared back and got Antoan Richardson swinging to stop the dance.

He had no such luck in the eighth. A one-out knock scored ahead of Daniel Ortez, who got a fly into the jet stream for a Florida homer. And out later, it fell apart. A single, a boot by Pedro and a walk loaded the bases; Fryer exacted a little more "how do you like me now?" on the Bucs by lining a two-run single to right off reliever David Bromberg from the minor league side, and that was about all she wrote, making it 7-2.

Pittsburgh put up a couple of more in the ninth. With an out, Marte singled and Jones walked. A grounder moved them up 90', and Pedro's knock drove them both in to make it a slightly more respectable 7-4 loss.

The Bucs left 10 on base and committed three errors, so the loss was pretty much a team effort today. Jeff Locke takes the bump tomorrow afternoon against the Yankees at Tampa to close out the Grapefruit season.

  • To keep it interesting, 36 year old AJ told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review that he might hang 'em up after the season. He did add that if he comes back, it'll be as a Bucco.
  • The Bucs #2 guy, Wandy Rodriguez, made a start at Pirate City this afternoon, tossing 6-2/3 innings against the Phillies’ AAA Lehigh Valley club at Pirate City. He gave up two runs on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts while delivering 94 pitches.
  • The Pirates DFA'd Clint Robinson and Hunter Strickland to place Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge onto the 40-man roster. So we're guessing that means Jeff Karstens, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton will all be on the 15 day DL rather than the 60. That either shows a lot of confidence in the medicos or not so much in the current rotation.
  • Baseball America selected the Bucs organization as the seventh strongest in baseball.
  • The Pirates set their spring attendance record this season by luring 93,433 fans for their 15 games at McKechnie Field, averaging over 6,200 warm fannies per contest.

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