The Pirates couldn’t produce any offense on their own, but the Blue Jays helped out as the Bucs won, 2-1, at not-McKechnie. The game went seven and a half innings. The home team managed only three hits, but didn’t need any of them for the two runs. They now sport a sizzling 7-4-1 spring record.
The dufusball started early, after Dustin Fowler led off the bottom of the first with a walk. He stole second, took third when catcher Danny Jansen threw the ball away, and scored when pitcher Thomas Hatch chucked a pickoff throw toward somebody in the stands.
Nothing much on offense ever happened. The outfield competition went nowhere: Fowler was 0-for-2 with the walk, Jared Oliva fanned twice and Brian Goodwin went 0-for-3 with two Ks. Cole Tucker returned from injury to pick up a double in two ABs.
The Pirates’ second run came on a bonehead play by Jays’ left fielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. Gurriel dropped Rodolfo Castro’s fly ball, then apparently thinking it’d be ruled a catch, just nonchalantly strolled over to pick it up. Castro, to his credit, ran all the way and circled the bases.
The pitching was good again, obviously. Chase De Jong started and threw three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and striking out one. De Jong’s track record in the majors and the upper minors is pretty uniformly bad, so it’s hard to see him as even a depth option. The Astros, though, saw fit to bring him back from indy ball last year and give him a few (14.73 ERA) innings in the majors, and now the Pirates seem to be taking a real look at him.
Nick Mears gave up the only run, after a leadoff double by Reese McGuire. A ground out and fly ball scored him. Mears threw only six pitches. Chris Stratton also had a six-pitch inning and James Marvel needed 11 in his inning.
Sean Poppen had the roughest time, needing 27 pitches. He gave up two walks and a single, but was helped by a caught stealing. Poppen has yet to go beyond an inning, so the Pirates don’t seem to regard him as starting depth.
Edgar Santana fanned two and threw 11 of 15 pitches for strikes. He had to get four outs due to an error. It’s easy to make a case that Santana is one of the team’s top 3-4 relievers, so he should have a real shot at an opening day spot.