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Photo Credit:  MLB.com

After a split squad scrimmage on Monday, the Pirates returned as a whole to take on the New York Yankees in Bradenton on Tuesday.  This would be the first of three games that the two storied franchises will play during spring training.  The Buccos sent James McDonald to the hill for his first star of the spring while the Bronx Bombers countered with Phil Hughes.
Both pitchers went the allotted two innings, with McDonald giving up two hits without surrendering a run.  Hughes didn’t allow a run or a hit, but did walk one.
Aaron Thompson of the Pirates pitched the third and fourth innings, allowing two hits while striking out a pair.  Chris Resop followed in the fifth frame, striking out a pair without giving up a hit. 
Daniel McCutchen continued the two-strikeout trend from Bucco pitching in innings six and seven, allowing him to pick up the win on the day.  Ramon Aguero and Daniel Moskos pitched the final two innings, keeping the shutout in tact for the Pirates.
Yankees’ pitching was just as formable through innings three through five, but the Buccos finally struck in the sixth frame.  After Chris Snyder singled, he was replaced with pinch-runner Jeremy Farrell, who was sacrificed over to second base by Josh Rodriguez.  Pedro Ciriaco’s double drove him home, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, as Pirates’ fans have seen in the past, Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize with runners on second and third and two outs, as Matt Diaz would end the inning with a fly out to Yankees’ right fielder Nick Swisher.  
An inning later, however, the Buccos would add to the lead when Josh Fields hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Garrett Jones from third.  This proved to be enough as the Pirates defeated the Yankees, 2-0.
While the bats of both teams suffered without the big names of Jeter, A-Rod, Texiera, Cutch, Alvarez, and Tabata, the pitching staffs both performed well today.  Hopefully the confidence that the Pirates’ staff gained today will carry over into the rest of spring training and on to the regular season.
Pittsburgh will be in action again tomorrow when they host the Minnesota Twins in Bradenton with the first pitch at 1:05pm.
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!