Select Page
By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: AP
The Pirates were back in Brandenton today to take on the Minnesota Twins.  The two teams had split their previous two meetings of the spring.  Paul Maholm started the game for the Buccos today and Brian Duensing was his mound opponent for Minnesota.  Coming into today’s game, Maholm had worked 14 innings, increasing his workload by one inning each time.
Pittsburgh hit the scoreboard first in the second inning.  Jason Jaramillo singled to left field, scoring Matt Diaz to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead.  Minnesota answered an inning later on a Joe Mauer single that scored Matt Tolbert.  Once again the Pirates gave up a run with two outs and an error on a pick-off attempt by Maholm, allowing Tolbert to get into scoring position. 
The Twins took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth when Delmon Young grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, scoring Denard Span from third base.
Maholm lasted six innings today, giving up two runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks.  It was another solid start for Paul today.  It would be nice for him to get his hit total down when the season starts, but he is the type of pitcher who is going to have the batters make contact and rely on his defense to make the outs.
Jose Veras and Scott Olsen came into the game for the Pirates in the seventh and eighth innings respectively.  Combined, the pitchers gave up on hit and had one strikeout.  Minnesota collected two more runs in the ninth off of pitcher Anthony Claggett.  The Pirates dropped the game, 4-1, when they were unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth.
This was one of those games we, as Pirates fans, are used to seeing:  a decent pitching performance from the starter and a lack of offense that led to the loss.  Today’s defeat dropped the Buccos to 10-15 this spring.  Pittsburgh is off tomorrow as they will welcome the Houston Astros to town for their second and final matchup of the spring on Wednesday.  Brian Burress is scheduled to take the hill for the Pirates.
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!