Today was a big day for Pittsburgh Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez. The Bucs left hander went one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Bradenton. It was his first start on a big league mound since last June against the Atlanta Braves.
The 5’11″ Rodriguez plunked Sean Rodriguez with the second pitch of the game. The sly southpaw had Rodriguez picked off first base, but Matt Hague airmailed the throw to second which would have had him dead to rights. The throw allowed the speedy Rays leadoff hitter to get to third base.
Wandy then struck out Matt Joyce swinging. He wasn’t done there either as he followed up by getting Logan Forsythe looking. (And to think we talked shit on Wandy last night in our article. Wandy’s Big Day)
But then the Pirates defense let him down. Will Myers grounded to shortstop Robert Andino for what should have been the final out of the inning, but he booted the ball allowing the Rays to put an unearned run on the McKechnie Field scoreboard. The damage was halted when Ryan Hanigan popped out to third baseman Brent Morel to end the inning and complete the long comeback trail for Wandy.
Fingers crossed for a healthy Wandy, the Pirates need him badly.
Russell Martin went deep for his first homer of the Spring.
The Pirates got excellent work from the pitching staff who allowed nothing but zeroes until the ninth inning. Jeanmar Gomez looked solid again followed by Vin Mazzaro who allowed a hit and a walk in his scoreless inning. Duke Welker was spotless with one strikeout. Casey Sadler pitched two innings and struck out three. Josh Kinney allowed two hits, struckout one in his scoreless inning of work.
Zach Thornton came out to lock down the ninth, but allowed a game tying home run to Cameron Seitzer. Thornton did strike out two Rays. The finished 2-2.