BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA) — Pirates starter Charlie Morton threw 88 pitches giving up 3 earned runs over 6 innings as the Pirates beat Toronto 8-3 Saturday afternoon.
Morton and Manager Clint Hurdle said there are no health issues as Morton said the start got better towards the end and it’s a good sign for him. Morton also pitched on a day with winds in the high teens and twenties.
“On their side, on our side, a couple of fly balls get rode out of the ballpark, he didn’t let that affect him,” Hurdle said of Morton dealing with the wind. “He stayed with his game plan. He stayed consistent with his approach about finishing pitches. I thought it was a much better outing for him and a good step in the right direction.”
Morton said it’s about getting outs at this point of Spring.
“Trying to work on things, trying to make pitches, trying to build myself up to make starts,” Morton said. “Adjustments and those kind of things are going to have to go to the back burner right now, I have to get ready for the season. Right now it is what it is, I gotta go pitch.”
The wind did help the Pirates as the Blue Jays left fielder misjudged a ball, initially running back, only to have it turn into a 2-out, 3-run double for Neil Walker.
“We don’t take 90 feet for granted, we put out an effort,” Hurdle said. “Those are the things that let you know that you have a club, from my perspective, that is hungry and likes to play. We got three guys that are blowing right from the ball is up in the air and finishing up and all scoring with no play. That’s the way the game needs to be played.”
Gregory Polanco hit a 2-run homer in the first scoring Jordy Mercer, who led off and walked 3 times. Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli each had 2 hits, Cervelli with a double and a triple.
Pirates 2013 First Round pick Reese McGuire got his first at bat with the major leaguers and doubled in a run pinch-hitting for Morton. McGuire was just over from Pirates City catching in the bullpen when he got the call he would get to pinch-hit in the major league game.
“It was awesome,” McGuire said.
Pirates also established a new record for single game attendance, with the 6,351 who attended on Saturday, now 99,450 fans have watched the Pirates during 14 games at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.