The touted “best outfield in baseball” started today for the Bucs and all three of them each blasted a home run to lead the Pirates past the Orioles 6-5 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.
Andrew McCutchen started things in the first with a solo home run off Miguel Gonzalez. It’s Cutch’s five home run this spring as he’s been red-hot. Gregory Polanco continued the long ball spree with a home run in the 4th inning (his first this spring) and Starling Marte kept it going in the 5th inning with a two-run blast, his second in Grapefruit League action. Marte has had an okay spring with an eye-popping .406 average and 1.080 OPS.
Jeff Locke started for the Bucs and worked 5.0 innings with three runs allowed on six hits and three strikeouts. I said it before and I’ll say it again—despite what NH says, I’m fairly certain Locke is indeed in the rotation and the last spot is between Nicasio and 38-year-old Vogelsong.
Mark Melancon worked another scoreless inning and hasn’t allowed a run all spring. He probably can’t wait for the season to start. Tony Watson struck out two in a scoreless inning and Rob Scahill tossed a blank frame too. Cory Luebke surrendered two runs in an inning of work.
Tomorrow, the Pirates and Orioles meet again this time from Sarasota at Ed Smith Stadium. Jon Niese will start for the Bucs opposite Orioles starter Tyler Wilson. Niese hasn’t seen Grapefruit League action since March 8 thanks to a rainout last week.