The Pittsburgh Pirates (12-13) and Baltimore Orioles (10-15) met Sunday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. For Pittsburgh, Mitch Keller (0-1, 11.91) took to the bump, while Baltimore gave the nod to Matt Harvey (0-0, 4.80).
There wasn’t much in the way of scoring in this game. Troy Stokes kicked off the festivities with a single in the first inning, allowing Jacob Stallings to score from third, planting the Pirates to a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second inning, Adam Frazier singled to left; in the process, Oneil Cruz came in to extend the marginal Pittsburgh lead, 2-0.
The Orioles were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth inning. Austin Wynns hit a fly ball to left field, which was caught by Brian Goodwin. Scoring on the play was Chance Sisco, making it a 2-1 ballgame.
The score would stand pat from that point on, enabling the Pirates to claim their 13th win of Spring Training and drawing the team to a .500 record during the preseason.
For Pirates’ fans, curiosity stemmed from whether or not Keller could improve prior to the start of the season. His results, as is often the case, were a mixed bag. The young pitcher tossed three innings and didn’t allow a run, while only giving up one hit, but he walked four batters.
Other pitchers of note include Michael Feliz and Sam Howard, the latter of whom is vying for a bullpen spot; both pitchers struck out a pair in each of their respective appearances. Quinn Priester, perhaps the next big thing through the pipeline, walked three in his 0.2 innings but was taken off the hook when Blake Weiman made an appearance in the eighth to work out of danger.
Nick Mears closed out the game with a scoreless final frame, including a pair of strikeouts. Lastly, pitching only gave up two hits to Baltimore on the afternoon, in addition to 10 strikeouts as a team; the team also walked eight hitters.
The Pirates totaled six hits in the game, including Frazier’s 2-for-4 showing, including an RBI; one of those hits was Frazier’s sixth double of the spring. Goodwin went 1-for-3 with a double. The other three hits were spread between Wilmer Difo, Stokes, and Cruz.
The Pirates will have two more opportunities to clean up any final deficiencies before heading north for the summer. The Bucs will square off against the Minnesota Twins tomorrow afternoon at LECOM Park in Bradenton before facing that same Twins team on Tuesday afternoon at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Florida. The former game is slated to have first pitch thrown at 1:05, while the latter game is slated for 12:05.
March 31 will be an idle day for all 30 major league organizations. The Pirates will kick off their regular season schedule on April 1 against the Chicago Cubs. That game will be played at Wrigley Field with first pitch scheduled for 2:20. The Pirates won’t play a game at PNC Park until April 8, when the Cubs come to town to begin the first homestand of the year.