The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their first of two games in Houston on Monday night, dropping a 12-9 decision to the Astros. It was a back and forth game, with the Pirates taking a 3-0 lead early on Francisco Cervelli’s fourth homer of the spring. The Astros then put up seven runs in the third inning, getting to Keone Kela and Geoff Hartlieb. That was followed by five runs from the Pirates in the sixth to take an 8-7 lead. That didn’t last long, as the Astros added three in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the seventh to give them the lead and eventual win.
The Pirates went with four bullpen members on Monday, and a fifth who will likely make the team. Richard Rodriguez, Felipe Vazquez, Francisco Liriano and Nick Burdi, combined for 3.2 shutout innings. Burdi had a tough time, giving up three walks and a single in the fourth, with a double play keeping runs off the board. Brandon Waddell recorded the final out of the fourth, stranding the bases loaded. Keona Kela recorded just one out, while allowing four runs on one hit and three walks. The Astros took the late lead against Alex McRae, who allowed five runs on three homers over the last three innings.
After putting up three runs in the first, the Pirate bats were quiet until the sixth. The inning started with a ground out, but that was followed by a walk, hit-by-pitch, RBI single by Melky Cabrera, walk, two-run double from Adam Frazier, sacrifice fly by Starling Marte, and an RBI single from Corey Dickerson. The Pirates added another run in the eighth on a triple by Kevin Newman, followed by a Pablo Reyes sacrifice fly. Every spot in the lineup had at least one hit and 12 players contributed to the 14-hit night.
Today’s the final game of the exhibition season. The Pirates will then head to Cincinnati for the season opener on Thursday. It’s a 2:10 PM EST start today, radio only for the broadcast. Here’s the lineup:
- Adam Frazier 2B
- Starling Marte CF
- Corey Dickerson LF
- Josh Bell 1B
- Colin Moran 3B
- Melky Cabrera RF
- Erik Gonzalez SS
- Will Craig DH
- Jacob Stallings C
Brandon Maurer is scheduled to start and Tyler Lyons will also pitch. Eduardo Vera (pictured above) will likely see the bulk of the innings, as he was originally the scheduled starter and he’s stretched out to five innings now. Minor leaguers Matt Eckelman, Montana DuRapau and Tate Scioneaux are also available out of the bullpen.
The bench today includes almost every player on the active spring roster who isn’t in the lineup, plus a group of minor leaguers brought with the team for this two-game series. Those players include Christian Kelley, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Alfredo Reyes and Adrian Valerio. Jose Osuna is in Pittsburgh, getting a neck injury checked. Lonnie Chisenhall left yesterday’s game early after being hit on the hand with a pitch. There hasn’t been an update on his situation today, though it should be noted that he was hit in the sixth inning and all of the starters left the game that inning for replacements, so he was coming out anyway (UPDATE: Pirates announce that he’s day-to-day right now and could be ready for Opening Day).
Chris Archer is throwing six innings at Pirate City today in a minor league game.
Wednesday is a travel day. Thursday is Opening Day! That will be a 4:10 PM start time, with Jameson Taillon on the mound against the Cincinnati Reds.