Pittsburgh Pirates Earn Two Victories To Start Grapefruit League Play

Feb 19, 2017; Bradenton, FL, USA;Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco (25) pose for a photo for photo day at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2017; Bradenton, FL, USA;Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco (25) pose for a photo for photo day at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates earned a pair of Grapefruit League victories on Saturday afternoon

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates played their first two Grapefruit League games of the spring. The Bucs’ split squads played the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. One Pirate squad hosted the Orioles at LECOM Park in Bradenton, while the other traveled to Port Charlotte to play the Rays.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to earn a victory in each of these games. This gives the Bucs a 2-0 record in Grapefruit League play.

At LECOM Field the Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 6-2.

Steven Brault started for the Bucs and pitched a scoreless first inning which included a strikeout. Trevor Williams, Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo, and A.J. Schugel all pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Daniel Hudson allowed a run, but he also recorded a pair of strikeouts. Pat Light would allow a run in the top of the ninth inning.

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In the field we saw the debut of the new Pirate outfield configuration. At the plate the Bucs’ outfielders had a good day. Gregory Polanco went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and two stolen bases. Starling Marte was 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base, while Andrew McCutchen was 1-for-2 with a double.

Adam Frazier started for the Pirates at shortstop and went 2-for-3 at the plate. More importantly, he did not make any mistakes at shortstop. He also helped turn a 4-6-3 double play in the first inning. If Frazier can be the Pirates’ backup shortstop, it would make what should already be a strong bench even better.

Shortstop prospect Kevin Newman took over for Frazier when he left the game. Newman finished Saturday’s game 0-for-1 with a fly out. Chris Bostick and Jin-De Jhang added back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, to set the final at 6-2.

Meanwhile, in Port Charlotte the Pittsburgh Pirates pounded the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2. This rout was powered by a six run top of the fifth inning for the Pirates.

Not many players that are projected to make the Major League roster made the trip to Port Charlotte. Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, and John Jaso were the three locks to make the roster in Port Charlotte. Phil Gosselin, who has a great chance to make the team as a utility player, made the trip as well.

Josh Harrison played second base led off for the Bucs and finished the game 0-for-3, Jordy Mercer went 1-for-2 with a walk, and John Jaso finished 1-for-4. Phil Gosselin, who started at third base, was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and he drove in two runs.

Pirate top prospect Austin Meadows also played in this game starting in center field. Meadows finished the game 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Minor League 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI, while catcher Jacob Stallings added a solo home run.

Josh Lindblom, Dan Runzler, Tyler Eppler, Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana, and Jared Lakind all pitched a scoreless inning for the Pirates against the Rays. Cody Dickson allowed two runs while pitching the game’s final three innings.

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Next up for the Pirates in Grapefruit League play is a trip to Sarasota to pay the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow afternoon. First pitch from Ed Smith Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 PM. Jameson Taillon will make his Spring Training debut for the Pirates, while Wade Miley starts for Baltimore.