Clint Hurdle got out his marker out and wrote down what could be a starting lineup as the team got ready to face the Tampa Rays. Unfortunately, the Pirates regulars in that lineup went down in order over three innings against Rays right hander Jeff Niemann.
Pirates starter Kevin Correia wasn’t too far behind. Correia threw two perfect innings and then had a messy third, but still escaped looking good on the scoreboard. Corriea gave up a hit to start the inning. He was then able to induce Brandon Guyer to ground into a double play.
Unfortunately, Will “Busta?” Rhymes had a bunt single. A walk followed. But with two Rays on, the Pirates employed the shift and were able to get slugger Carlos Pena on a groundout to end the third.
The Bucs were able to get on the board thanks to the Rays defense in the fouth inning. Alex Presley got on with a knock up the middle. With one away, Andrew McCutchen pulled a ball hard just inside the line to third base, the long throw by Evan Longoria was wide. I was listening on the radio and it sounded like it got away from Pena. A heads up Alex Presley was able to score for the Buccos.
Justin Wilson didn’t start the bottom of the inning the way I was hoping for. He issued a four pitch walk to Longoria that would come back to bite the Pirates in the ass.
With one day, the Pirates left hander allowed Jose Molina a blooper into center that had runners on the corner. Reid Brignac stepped in and was working on a bunt for the entire at bat. In a show of real confidence, or just spring training hilarity, Brignac even bunted with two strikes. He put down a roller that sounded like it just kept rolling fair as Garrett Jones watched it. Anyway, it worked and the score was tied. It would prove to be a big run as far as spring training games go.
In what has been a habit this spring, the Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez jumped on the first pitch from right-hander Joel Peralta for a solo-homer. The homer gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning off Justin Wilson would tie the score.
From watching Wilson this spring, his breaking balls really have some movement and it seems that has caused some of his walks. It seems like a problem that should be fixable and it will be interesting to see how Wilson finishes this spring.
The rado announcers included John Wehner. In the ninth it was rather enjoyable listening to him, according to Wehner it appeared obvious that Jake Fox was going for the homer. He jumped on a curveball and sent it out of the park for a 3-2 lead.
Left-hander Doug Slaten wasn’t able to get an out in the bottom of the ninth and the Rays got the 4-2 victory.