Pittsburgh Pirates ride longball to 18-4 win over the Phillies


6. 18. 4. Final. 4

Behind six home runs by five different players, the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-10) defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 18-4 on Monday afternoon.

Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez, many of whom are watching intently after his transition from third base, led the offense with a 2-4 afternoon that produced two long balls, three runs scored, and six RBI’s. His spring average is up to a promising .325, after a year where the slugger regressed from 30+ home runs. With questions arising throughout last season if whether Alvarez is a key piece of the future success of the organization, the first step to answering yes is a strong spring training.

Pirates regulars Josh Harrison and Starling Marte also homered in the lopsided victory, with young upstarts Tony Sanchez and Pedro Florimon also going yard for the Pirates.

What Stood Out

One of the more interesting stories in the roue was the altercation that occurred during the fifth inning of the contest. Sunny Bradenton wasn’t the only heat produced, as tempers flared, specifically Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield and Phillies first base coach Juan Samuel.

The two exchanged words in regards to Phillies reliever Kevin Slowey quick-pitching Sean Rodriguez of the Pirates. Both benches cleared, as per usual in Major League Baseball after Rodriguez showed signs of aggressive behavior towards Slowey.

In speaking to ESPN after the game, Slowey had this to say regarding the tempers flaring:

"“It surprises me to be that upset, and challenging somebody to a physical altercation hardly seems like the best way to resolve your frustrations,” Slowey said. “I was kind of taken by surprise at his animosity after his at-bat. I know the kind of guy that he purports to be. That surprised me that that would be his choice of words and reaction. I guess I understand the frustration of a singular failure. It’s a game of failures. But to react that way to me was very surprising.”"

The altercation could be a result of Major League Baseball’s attempts to improve the pace of games, with new rules placed to speed up the action during at bats.  The Pirates will play the Phillies again on April 3rd and 4th as a part of a six game road trip that includes the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.

It will be interesting to see if this spring training brawl will result in continued animosity between the two keystone state clubs.

Both Sofield and Samuel were ejected in the fifth inning, while Pirates manager Clint Hurdle got tossed the following inning for arguing a strike call on Andrew Lambo.

Pirates pitcher Mark Melancon picked up the victory as the starter, striking out two and allowing only a single to right field to Phillies shortstop Freddie Galvis, who went 2-3 on the day and homered in a losing effort.

For the Phillies, their fourth ranked prospect Zach Eflin got the start, and gave up four runs, one earned, in three innings work.

What’s Next:

The Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to the spring home of the Detroit Tigers tomorrow, March 31, at 1:07 PM EST.  Fresh off of losing the last spot in the Pirates rotation, Vance Worley will face off against David Price.  It will be interesting to see how Hurdle approaches Worley’s outing, as it remains to be seen if Vance will remain stretched out for possible spot-start work.