Jung Ho Kang’s walk-off grand slam leads Pirates past Orioles
The big news of the day for Jung Ho Kang was that he got a double — his first hit that wasn’t a home run.
Then Kang hit a walk-off grand slam to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in a Grapefruit League game Thursday at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. Kang shares the major league lead for most home runs (six) this spring with Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
Starling Marte was scratched as a precaution because of “low back tightness” and is day-to-day. So the Pirates started minor leaguer Jonah Davis in center field, and the 21-year-old hit two homers in his Pirates debut.
A 15th-round draft pick in 2018 who hit .306 with 12 home runs for rookie-level Bristol and was an Appalachian League All-Star last season, Davis crushed a solo homer to center off David Hess for a 1-0 lead in the first and added another off Nate Karns in the sixth to tie it at 3-3.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli homered in the second to extend his hitting streak to seven games and give the Pirates a 2-0 lead, but the Orioles scored three runs off Chris Archer in the fourth. Trey Mancini hit a leadoff home run to right. Joey Rickard hit an RBI double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hanser Alberto’s sacrifice fly for a 3-2 lead. Archer walked Drew Jackson to load the bases before Tyler Lyons got Dwight Smith Jr. to fly out to center to end the inning.
Archer allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six in 3 2/3 innings.
Drew Jackson hit a two-run single off Montana Durapau in the top of the ninth to give the Orioles a 5-3 lead.
Francisco Liriano is scheduled to start against right-hander Casey Sadler when the Pirates play the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 p.m. Friday in Port Charlotte. The Pirates optioned right-handed pitchers Michael Feliz and Clay Holmes to Triple-A Indianapolis. They have 36 active players in camp.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .