By Jeff Hathhorn

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pirates and Blue Jays finished a near four hour game in an 11-11 tie Sunday in Bradenton. Gift Ngoepe went 3 for 5 with a double and is now hitting .400 this Spring. David Freese played his first game at first, was 2 for 3 and has reached base in nine straight games. Gerrit Cole gave up a run over five.

Alen Hanson went 3 for 6 in left field and threw out two runners at home in the same inning. Hanson cut down Gregorio Petit and Steve Pearce trying to score in the fourth.

“So that was the game-plan,” Cole said. “Was to let them hit it to Hanson. So that worked out well for us. He made some great plays. It’s always nice when your defense can pick you up.”

“He was in left field before,” manager Clint Hurdle said of Hanson trying to make the club as he is out of options. “He just hasn’t had to make the plays that he had hit to him. He had a lot of opportunities today.”

Hurdle then referenced the last time he saw two runners get thrown out at home by the left fielder in the same game. It was 1982 Opening Day when the Reds’ left fielder threw out Bill Buckner twice, and the left fielder was Hurdle.

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Pirates ace Gerrit Cole threw in only his second game this Spring. Cole went five innings, giving up one run on five hits, no walks and five strikeouts.

“I thought we did good work,” Cole said. “It was good to see Cervelli back there, he hasn’t been around for a while. I thought he looked great and using my stuff well.”

Cole said he doesn’t need as much time with Cervelli as younger guys. Cole said he was fastball heavy today, sequencing a little bit, but mostly attacking.

“He maintained velocity, I thought it was executed very well, located very well, good finish to it,” Hurdle said. “I thought he had good stuff. It was a very effective outing.”

Asked if he was able to watch the World Baseball Classic as team USA beat the Dominican Republic Saturday in a game that started at 10 p.m. EST, Cole said. “It’s pretty early days over here, so I stay pretty regimented with my bedtime. I catch the highlights in the morning in the john.”

Cole met the media after his outing.

Neal Huntington talks

• Huntington has visited Jung-Ho Kang and he continues to workout, but hasn’t seen any live pitching and he remains in need of a visa. Kang will need a Spring Training, essentially he will start from the beginning when he finally arrives in Florida.
• They can’t wait to get their hands on Starling Marte, confirming he has a sprained ankle and it will take time to heal. They will monitor and treat him accordingly.
• No clarity on the 5th starter, although Chad Kuhl remains on the inside track for the 4th spot. This year’s group “has a lower floor but a higher ceiling” than last year’s starters. Huntington says the competition will increase their depth
• Reliever Jared Hughes is just having mechanical issues, his problems are not physically related at all. Hughes did throw a scoreless inning Sunday afternoon.
• Josh Bell’s defense at first is still progressing. Huntington said it is still a challenge for the former outfielder. Bell is working hard and wants to be a capable first baseman.

Bucco Bites

• Each struggling, lefty relievers Tony Watson and Antonio Bastardo combined to throw one inning, allowing nine earned runs on six hits and four walks. Both Watson and Bastardo have Spring ERA’s over 10.
• Jason Rogers played in his first game since February 28. Rogers returned from an ankle injury, subbing at first base, and went 0 for 2.

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