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Andrew McCutchen has injury scare in Pirates' tie with Orioles

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew McCutchen slipping on home plate was the key moment as the Pirates and Orioles played to a 3-3 tie Wednesday.

McCutchen came up lame and did not run out a ground ball for the final out of the top of the eighth inning, after which he was removed from the game.

After about 15 minutes, we could exhale.

McCutchen's scare overshadowed a few feel-good performances -- Pedro Alvarez smacked a home run, the top two pitchers in the Pirates' starting rotation turned in clean performances and the left side of the infield made several nice plays.

Alvarez punished a Chris Tillman mistake for a two-run homer to right-center field in the second inning. It would be the Bucs' only scoring until Andrew Lambo doubled and scored in the eighth.

Francisco Liriano struck out two and walked none in three innings in his final start before Opening Day. He gave up a third-inning home run to Everth Cabrera but fought off further trouble, striking out Steve Pearce looking after a Nolan Reimold single.

Gerrit Cole pitched the next three innings, giving up one hit, striking out three and walking one.

Jung-Ho Kang played solid defense at shortstop, his highlight coming when he went into the hole to nab a ground ball and made a long throw across his body to retire Jonathan Schoop. At third base, Josh Harrison added a diving stop.

Arquimedes Caminero, presumed to have a hold on one of the final bullpen spots, blew the Pirates' 2-1 lead, allowing two runs in the seventh on a little bit of everything -- a hit by pitch, a triple and an infield single.

Of course, none of that was of major consequence when McCutchen looked to be injured the following inning.

Only three more of these things before real baseball.