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Pirates

Maholm struggles against Yankees in brief outing

| Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Paul Maholm was slated to pitch three innings Monday against the New York Yankees, but he lasted only two in the Pirates' 6-0 loss.

"I didn't do myself any favors by falling behind almost every guy that came up there in the first," Maholm said. "I had too much energy and was trying to overthrow. My mechanics were just off, and I didn't feel like the rhythm was there.

"I kept missing on my sinker, which I need to make sure is there every game because it's one of my main pitches. My offspeed was fine; I threw a couple good changeups."

The Yankees brought four marquee players down from Tampa for the split-squad game. All four of them reached base to start the contest.

Singles by Derek Jeter and Randy Winn and a walk to Curtis Granderson loaded the bases. Alex Rodriguez backed out of the box and took a step toward first base, claiming he'd been hit by a low pitch. But umpire Justin Vogel ruled it a ball.

"That ball hit me square on the foot," Rodriguez said later. "(Vogel) wasn't buying."

On a full count, Rodriguez bounced a two-run single into center field.

"They put together good at-bats, no matter what part of the season," Maholm said. "It's good to have an inning where you have to battle and work on things and use all your pitches."

Maholm worked two innings and allowed two runs and three hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Righty Alfredo Aceves continued his mastery of the Pirates, tossing four perfect innings. He has made two outings this spring, both against Pittsburgh, and has set down all 18 batters he has faced.

Aceves was supposed to throw just three innings but wound up working four to get closer to his maximum pitch count. He threw 36 pitches in the game, then tossed another 16 in the bullpen before cooling down.

"He's a strike-throwing machine," Rodriguez said. "He's a great weapon for us."

The Pirates wound up with just one hit -- Steve Pearce's squibber in the fifth inning. It was Pearce's first hit this spring.

QUOTABLE

"He's a threat at the plate and he's catching very well. He's picked up where he left off last year, when he put himself on the map."

John Russell

Pirates manager, on catcher Erik Kratz

DIGITS

13 -- Consecutive outs recorded by Yankees pitchers to start Monday's game

1 -- Pirates who reached second base in Monday's game

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