Spring training breakdown: Pirates 6, Orioles 5
at Red Sox
JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Fla.
Red Sox starter: LHP Chris Sale
Pirates starter: RHP Ivan Nova
PIRATES 6, ORIOLES 5
Welcome back, El Toro: Pedro Alvarez made his 2017 game debut when he hit out of the No. 5 spot in the Orioles order with one on and two outs in the first inning. Alvarez, who signed with the Orioles five days prior, received some scattered applause from the fans at LECOM Park, his spring home for the first seven spring trainings of his professional career. Alvarez struck out on three pitches. Alvarez was the designated hitter Wednesday, going 0 for 4 with two pop outs and two strikeouts.
Taillon sharp: Jameson Taillon had a second consecutive clean outing in making his third start of Grapefruit League play. The first batter he faced, Chris Dickerson, hit the ball hard – so hard, he was limited to a single on a ball that got down the right-field line. But Taillon did not allow a ball hit out of the infield after that (just a third-inning infield single by Johnny Giavotella in addition to nine groundouts, a pop out and two strikeouts). The highlight was getting two-time American League home run champion Chris Davis to strike out swinging on an 84-mph curve. “I thought I was nibbling a little bit at times and then I'd fall behind in the count and throw a competitive challenge pitch and got some good results,” Taillon said. “I think that just builds confidence for me and shows that I have good stuff.” In pitching four innings for the first time this spring, Taillon threw 59 pitches, 34 for strikes.
Gloves giveth and taketh away: David Freese — the Pirates' starting third baseman for the time being — was charged with an error when he couldn't handle a grounder from Chris Johnson to lead off the second. But on the next pitch, veteran catcher Chris Stewart made an excellent play to get an out on a sacrifice bunt by Logan Schafer, quickly pouncing on a ball several feet down the third-base line, barehanding it and throwing to first. The following batter, Caleb Joseph, was retired on a running, over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory by first baseman Jose Osuna.
Kuhl outing: Chad Kuhl threw 57 pitches over four innings against the Phillies' Triple-A team at Pirate City. The right-hander, all but assured a spot in the opening day rotation, has thrown every fifth day this spring, ramping up his innings and pitches progressively. Also pitching at Pirate City was righty Josh Lindblom (three innings, 52 pitches).