It’s only spring training where results and overall record are basically meaningless, but it’s always nice to win. The Pirates opened Grapefruit League play with a 4-2 victory over the Tigers Tuesday afternoon in Lakeland.
The lineup was a mix of regulars and prospects, but the regulars stole the stage early as Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer each belted a solo home run to build a 2-0 lead. The Tigers tied it at 2 in the sixth when Victor Martinez drilled Scahill’s offering for a two-run HR.
The Pirates didn’t wait long to break the tie as Alan Hanson, who’s fighting for an Opening Day roster spot if Kang isn’t ready yet, had an RBI bloop single to score Adam Frazier. Frazier tripled to open the 7th inning. Two batters later, Hanson scored on a RBI single from Jason Rogers to make it 4-2 and your final for the Grapefruit League opener.
LHP Kyle Lobstein (the Lobsterman!) started the game for the Bucs and tossed two scoreless innings with two walks and one strikeout. I think Lobstein has a good chance to be that long reliever out of the pen. Neftali Feliz also pitched an impressive scoreless inning with one strikeout. The rest of the pitchers—Wilfredo Boscan (two innings), Curtis Partch, Trey Haley and Kelvin Marte all tossed scoreless frames.
Gift Ngoepe with easily the best name in the Pirates system made a couple incredible plays in the field according to the multiple accounts on Twitter from reporters that were at the game. Gift is probably the best defensive SS in the system and showed why today.
The only other note from this game is the fans had their first chance to hear the Pirates new announcer Joe Block call the second half of the game. Block has a classic, old-time announcer sound that I enjoyed listening to today and look forward to his calls all season long.
Tomorrow, both teams will do it again this time from Bradenton.