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Pirates

Bucs’ Bench Carries Day Again

James McDonald

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — For the second straight game, the Pirates’ bench came through in the late innings as the Bucs beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-4 in 10 innings.

Josh Harrison, who went 2-for-2 in Monday’s come-from-behind win, and did it again, this time with an RBI single in the 8th and a game-tying RBI double in the 9th.

Finally, after two Pirates were hit by pitches in the 10th inning, catching prospect Carlos Paulino drove a ball over the centerfielder’s head for a game-winning double.

Hurdle on Harrison: “He’s been the recipe for instant offense, along with Paulino, the last couple of times we’ve played.”

Outfielder Felix Pie led off the 9th with a home run and was one of the guys hit by a pitch in the 10th.

As for the regulars, James McDonald pitched into the 6th inning, and despite a 2-run 1st, which involved some bad luck – bad throw by Pedro Alvarez on an infield single – McDonald was mostly crisped and was happy with his performance.

“The first inning wasn’t that bad,” McDonald explained. “Ground balls could have gone either way and I was able to pitch inside,” which he says paid off over his next 4-plus innings.

“He got stronger as the game went on,” Hurdle agreed. “His change-up came into play, his curve ball came into play, thought he had a really good fastball today that he beat some people with; a very good outing.”

Starling Marte was 2-for-3 with an infield single and a triple to raise his spring average to .407.

“One little bobble and he’s going to be safe,” Hurdle smiled, “and he’s the got the best poster child in the world running down to first base in Andrew McCutchen. We’ve got two guys who can get down the line as well as anybody in the game.”

Odds and ends:
Catcher Russell Martin was 1-for-2 with a walk and on the out he made it appeared he beat the throw to first. Martin also thought he was safe at home on Gaby Sanchez’s single to left in the third inning. Martin slid headfirst around the catcher and tapped the plate but Bill Welke ruled the catcher got him on the elbow.

“He saw something that wasn’t there,” Martin shrugged, “but it’s spring training.” Martin has reached base safely in all 7 games he’s played

Jeff Karstens threw 2 innings in a minor league game against Philadelphia’s AAA team at Pirate City and was visibly happy when he returned to McKechnie Field. “My fastball wasn’t great but my curveball – if I could box it up and take it with me I would,” said Karstens who believes he’ll pitch in another game Monday and ramp it up from there. Hurdle said “as of now” Karstens has a chance to begin the season in the rotation.

Garrett Jones, bothered by a left oblique strain, took swings in the cage and Hurdle says now Jones is ready “for some good fashioned BP.”

Infielder Chase D’Arnaud will have his thumb examined in Pittsburgh – “as soomn ass we can get him up there,” according to Hurdle

Vin Mazzaro anad Kyle Waldrop had been on the travel roster for tomorrow’s game against the Phillies in Cleawater but both pitched today and Waldrop picked up the win

The line-up for Thursday .. Presley 7 Tabata 9 McCutchen 3 Hawpe 3 Walker 4 Inge 5 Barmes 6 McKenry 2 McPherson 1 LH Relievers – Oliver, Zagurski, Johnson RH Reliever – Reid

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