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By Chad Carlson

Photo Credit:  AP Photo/Eric Gay

Brad Lincoln pitched a competent game against a great Red Sox lineup, while the offense busted the game wide open in the sixth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat up Boston on Sunday, 9-4 at McKechnie Field.
The Pirates’ victory on Sunday, which came in front of a sellout crowd, was their eighth of the spring, eclipsing last year’s total in the Grapefruit League.  The Red Sox sent Josh Beckett to the mound against the Pirates, and he threw four strong innings before the Buccos finally started to get in front of his pitches.
Other than a John Bowker solo homerun in the second inning, the Buccos’ bats were held in check until the fifth inning, when they broke the game open.
Following Ronny Cedeno’s solo homerun in the inning, Neil Walker singled home Dusty Brown to tie the game, 3-3.  Pedro Alvarez delivered a huge blow to Boston with a two-run double, scoring Andy Marte and Jose Tabata.  Two batters later, Lyle Overbay would smack a two-run single to center field, allowing Walker and Alvarez to score. 
Beckett was pulled from the game in the fifth frame, allowing a total of five runs on four hits while issuing two walks and giving up two homeruns through his four innings of work.  In all, the Pirates scored six runs in the fifth inning, giving them a commanding lead that they wouldn’t lose for the rest of the afternoon.
Considering the stacked lineup he was facing, Buccos’ starter Brad Lincoln pitched a strong game, allowing two runs on two hits through three innings, while issuing two walks and striking out three batters.  Jeff Karstens took over for Lincoln in the fourth, giving up one run in his pair of innings, while Joel Hanrahan gave up a run in his inning of work.
The Pirates added to their lead in the eighth inning as Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew Lambo had RBI singles.  Chris Leroux would wrap things up for the Buccos in the ninth, giving the club their eighth victory of the Grapefruit League season by the score of 9-4.
This was a huge victory for the Pirates against a team that is expected to make it to the World Series in 2011, at the very least.  It was uplifting to see Pittsburgh batters finally get to a terrific pitcher like Josh Beckett, and their patience and execution were the ultimate keys to their success.  Lincoln had a strong start, especially considering the power of the Red Sox lineup.  This was a positive afternoon for the Buccos, following a day when they were completely outplayed in their split-squad scrimmage yesterday.
The Buccos will take on the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow at 1:05pm in Sarasota, Florida.  The game will be on MLB.TV, as Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel are expected to pitch in their spring debuts tomorrow.  Kevin Correia will make the start for the Buccos against Jake Arrieta for the Orioles.
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!