Presley, Hague, & Marte Help Pirates Win First Game This Spring

Photo Credit:  Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The Pirates played their first Spring Training game under the lights tonight, and they brought their top game to the plate, beating the Baltimore Orioles, 10-3, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL.  As a team, Pittsburgh had a total of 18 hits, including five players that tallied multiple hits. 
Alex Presley went 3-3 with two runs scored in the leadoff spot, while Matt Hague went 3-4 with a HR and three RBI’s.  Not to be outdone, Starling Marte had three hits himself, while scoring twice.  It was great to see Presley perform well tonight in the leadoff spot, a place where Clint Hurdle would love to have the comfort of placing him for Opening Day next month.  With roster spots up for grabs, and even though it may be rather unlikely they’ll nab an Opening Day roster spot, Hague and Marte are looking strong and confident at the plate thus far.
Pedro Alvarez went 0-3 with two strikeouts and two runners left on base tonight.  He has yet to tally a hit in the pair of Spring Training games he’s played in thus far.  Michael McKenry also had a rough night offensively, going 0-3 while leaving five runners on base.  With the way Rod Barajas has hit the ball thus far in the Spring, and considering the fact he had the edge prior to reporting to Pirate City, it already seems evident that McKenry is primed for a backup spot on the roster.
The Pirates’ pitching team of eight hurlers together gave up a total of three runs on six hits tonight.  Starter Jo-Jo Reyes surrendered a run on three hits in 1.2 innings, while striking out a pair of batters.  Justin Wilson was arguably the most impressive pitcher for Pittsburgh, throwing two scoreless innings, walking a batter but striking out three and not giving up a hit.  Bryan Morris, Michael Crotta, and Tim Wood each pitched a scoreless inning, while Duke Welker had the downside of the night for the staff, giving up two unearned runs.
While a number of the players performing tonight are more than likely going to start the 2012 season in the minors, it was certainly satisfying to see them perform at a high level.  As we all know from what occurred last year, those who play well in Altoona or Indianapolis can earn their way to the Majors and make a difference with the big club.  It’s a long season and injuries and fatigue are a part of the game. 
I know this is only the third Spring Training game, but Pedro Alvarez has already struck out four times in the two games he’s played in this week.  Coming off a dismal season and all the work he’s done in the offseason, it’d be nice to see him hit the ground running.  I’ve predicted a MEGA season from Pedro this year, and I stand by that, and I’m looking forward to seeing him find his comfort zone at the plate in Spring Training and be ready to go by April 5 in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates earned their first victory in Grapefruit League play tonight.  They’ll face the New York Yankees at McKechnie Field tomorrow afternoon.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm.
Grapefruit League Record:  1-2
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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