The Pirates finally showed some evidence of life at the plate in a 6-1 win over the Braves. The game evened their spring record at 2-2-1.
The Bucs got a pair of bombs from unlikely sources. With one on in the fourth, Erik Gonzalez sliced a wind-aided fly just over the fence in right. The other came from Joe Hudson, who ripped the first pitch of the sixth well over the fence in center.
Ke’Bryan Hayes continued to rake, going 2-for-3 with an RBI triple. The one out was a liner to right on which Phillip Ervin robbed Hayes of extra bases. Kevin Newman went 2-for-2 with a walk. Gregory Polanco ripped a laser through the shift that rolled to the wall in right-center for a two-run double.
The pitching was actually the more interesting part of the game, starting with Tyler Anderson. He started off giving me unhappy flashbacks to Zach Duke. He’d get two quick strikes, but then couldn’t put hitters away. They seemed to get him timed after a few pitches and then hit the ball hard. That only lasted about 3-4 hitters, though, and Anderson didn’t give up any more hard contact, while also missing some bats. He had to get five outs in the second inning. After two easy outs, two batters reached when Bryan Reynolds lost a popup in the sun and dropped it, and Kevin Newman booted an easy bouncer. Anderson finally got Dansby Swanson swinging on a very well located 3-2 pitch. Anderson has a hitch in his delivery that may keep hitters a little off balance.
The next four pitchers — Kyle Crick, Chasen Shreve, David Bednar and Sam Howard — each threw a hitless inning. Crick had an easy inning apart from plunking a guy. His velocity was up a little from his first game. Shreve looked good, not great velocity but good command. Howard had trouble throwing strikes and walked a pair, but he fanned Shea Langeliers on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
The eye-opener was Bednar. He didn’t just strike out the side, he made all three hitters look totally befuddled. They weren’t scrubbies, either; he got Ender Inciarte, Austin Riley and Ryan Goins, not stars but all established major leaguers. I thought Bednar would almost certainly head to AAA in April, but maybe not.
Clay Holmes threw the last inning. He gave up a pair of one-out singles and then fell behind, 3-1, but he got a 4-6-3 double play. It went Nick Gonzales to Ji-Hwan Bae to Mason Martin, which was cool.