We knew this game was going to be bad when – after we told you in the preview to keep an eye on him - Pirates DH Jake Fox comes up, and with the Bucs in business … grounds into his first double play of the day. Fox would go 0-for-3 against the Blue Jays with a strikeout and two GIDP.
James McDonald threw two innings. McDonald mowed down the Jays in the first inning, including a strikeout of former Pirate Jose Bautista.
But in the second inning, McDonald issued the frustrating and dreaded four-pitch leadoff walk. Some bad luck followed as JMac was able to break the bat of Edwin Encarnacion, but the ball still fell for a single into left field. The walk came back to bite McDonald in the ass as Brett Lawrie dropped a two-out, two-run double into left center field.
McDonald gave up two hits, a walk, and struck out one. He allowed two runs and threw 33 pitches with 19 going for strikes.
Courtesy of the Post-Gazette, this is what Clint Hurdle had to say about James McDonald:
Brad Lincoln and Chris Resop followed with hitless and scoreless innings. Lincoln recorded one strikeout and two deep flyouts, while Resop walked one during his inning of work.
The Bucs came to the plate in the fifth inning still looking for their first hit of the afternoon. With two away and things looking rather grim, left fielder Gorkys Hernandez hit a single to right. The speedy Hernandez then stole second and scored the only Bucco run of the day on a Mike McKenry single.
The Pirates bullpen mix of Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Daniel McCutchen pitched three innings and gave up five runs - but let’s take a little closer look at the afternoon Leroux and Watson had:
Leroux came in to work the fifth inning with the Pirates trailing 2-1. The right hander got his fastball up and it was crushed by Jays left fielder Eric Thames who had 12 homers last season. Leroux came right back to strikeout number nine hitter J.P Arencibia, then shortstop Yunel Escobar, and got his third strikeout of the day against 2B Kelly Johnson.
The Pirates would fail to score the rest of the way, while the Jays added runs against Watson and McCutchen.
In Watson’s inning of work, the lefty gave up a single to Bautista and then beaned Encarnacion. Once again, Lawrie was the man who was credited with the big hit, a two-run double into center. But really, Starling Marte lost the ball in the strong Florida Auto Exchange Stadium wind.
Watson’s line would read four hits allowed, three earned runs and a strikeout.
Daniel McCutchen would allow the seventh Blue Jays run of the day. Keeping with what he was brought to Pittsburgh to do, Ryota Igarashi would strikeout two in his hitless inning of work. Juan Cruz pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth although it wouldn’t count–just another weird day of spring training baseball.
The Bucs try to get revenge tomorrow afternoon at McKechnie Field. Erik Bedard, Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Jason Grilli, Doug Slaten, Daniel Moskos and Shairon Martis are on the schedule to pitch.
The tough part of the game to understand was that the Blue Jays didn’t exactly throw their best arms at the Bucs, and yet three hits was all that could be mustered. Starling Marte, Gorkys Hernandez, and Mike McKenry. Yikes.