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Matt Diaz Homers, Pirates Lose 4-2 To Tampa Bay

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA/AP) – The Pittsburgh Pirates received four solid innings from pitchers Ross Ohlendorf and Evan Meek, but lost 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ohlendorf pitched three innings for the Pirates, yielding one run, three hits, striking out two and walking one.

In the first inning, Ohlendorf needed just five pitches to retire catcher John Jaso, left fielder Johnny Damon and third baseman Evan Longoria in order.

“They were just swinging,” said Ohlendorf, who included more changeups and sliders in his second spring outing. “Jaso was a check swing and he’s usually really patient. The pitch was probably a little better than he was expecting so he decided at the last-minute to swing. I threw strikes, but they swung so it was a combination. It wasn’t all my doing.”

Meek relieved Ohlendorf in the fourth inning and tossed a scoreless inning for Pittsburgh in his first spring appearance.

Meek has been hampered by a tight right calf this spring.

“Things were a little quick,” Meek said. “I found myself just trying to relax, go out and throw strikes, not really focus too much on velocity or anything. I really just wanted to get my work in and get back in the groove of things. It’s a good step forward.”

The lone bright spot at the plate for the Pirates came off the bat of outfielder Matt Diaz.

The 33 -year-old Diaz went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer off Tampa Bay’s David Price in the fourth inning.

Diaz signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh in December and has a career .301 average with 43 home runs and 192 RBIs in eight seasons.

The Pirates recorded six hits (one home run, one double, four singles) and went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

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