Jung Ho Kang’s strong spring continued at the plate, but Steven Brault’s bid for the fifth spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation took a hit Thursday.
Kang hit his third home run of spring training, but Brault struggled on the mound as the Pirates dropped an 8-6 decision to the New York Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.
Kang’s solo homer to left off Yankees starter J.A. Happ in the top of the first inning gave the Pirates (3-3) a 1-0 lead, but New York shortstop Troy Tulowitzki launched a three-run homer to left off Brault in the bottom of the inning.
Brault pitched one-plus innings, yielding four runs on three hits with four walks and one strikeout. The left-hander threw two scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in his spring debut Feb. 23.
J.B. Shuck and Pablo Reyes also homered for the Pirates, with Shuck’s two-run shot tying the game in the top of the second inning. Will Craig had a pair of hits, and Patrick Kivlehan drove in a pair of runs with a fifth-inning double. Shuck and Kivlehan are nonroster invitees to spring training.
Corey Dickerson made his spring debut and went 1 for 3 with a run scored at designated hitter.
Reliever Elvis Escobar took the loss after giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Pirates will play a pair of split-squad games Friday, against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., and the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.