Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Final: Blue Jays 4, Pirates 1

Photo by JASON DILL/BRADENTON HERALD


On the strength of three runs in the first four innings, the Toronto Blue Jays spoiled the Pittsburgh Pirates' Grapefruit League home opener at McKechnie Field with a 4-1 victory.
Two doubles off Pittsburgh's Vance Worley highlighted a two-run fourth inning that gave the Blue Jays an advantage they would not relinquish.
Pittsburgh registered just four hits in the loss, it's first defeat of the spring. The Pirates defeated the Jays, 8-7, in Tuesday's contest in Dunedin.
For more on the game, check out tomorrow's editions of the Bradenton Herald.

- Jason Dill

End of 4: Blue Jays 3, Pirates 1

Toronto has extended its lead in today's Grapefruit League home opener at McKechnie Field. The Blue Jays lead the Pirates, 3-1, behind two runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Toronto's Dioner Navarro and Kevin Pillar both doubled off Vance Worley. The latter double plated Navarro, while Daric Barton scored on a Ramon Santiago ground out.
The Pirates had tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second on a wild pitch.

- Jason Dill

End of 1: Blue Jays 1, Pirates 0

Toronto has a 1-0 lead after one inning at McKechnie Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Blue Jays scored their run off Dioner Navarro's ground out to second baseman Neil Walker.
The play plated Munenoru Kawasaki, who was hit by a Gerrit Cole pitch and advanced to third on a Dalton Pompey double.
The Pirates had a runner in scoring position in their half of the first inning, but Josh Harrison was doubled off second base on Francisco Cervelli's flyout to Pompey in left field.
Harrison led the Pittsburgh lineup off with a bloop single to center field.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman retired Andrew Lambo to end the inning.

- Jason Dill

Blue Jays at Pirates



Sunny skies and the smacking sound of a ball meeting a wood bat means it's time for Major League Baseball's return to McKechnie Field.
Monday was the start with the annual intrasquad Black and Gold game, but today marks the home opener for the Grapefruit League season at the venerable Bradenton park.
Here's a look at today's lineups between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the host Pittsburgh Pirates:

Toronto Blue Jays

Ezequiel Carerra RF
Munenoru Kawasaki 3B
Dalton Pompey LF
Dioner Navarro C
Daric Barton 1B
Chris Colabello DH
Kevin Pillar CF
Ramon Santiago SS
Ryan Goins 2B

Marcus Stroman SP


Pittsburgh Pirates

Josh Harrison 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
Andrew Lambo DH
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 1B
Jordy Mercer SS
Steve Lombardozzi LF
Mel Rojas Jr. CF
Willy Garcia RF

Gerrit Cole SP


- Jason Dill

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Another record spring at McKechnie Field

Low temperatures, a steady drizzle and gray clouds did little to deter another big crowd from filling McKechnie Field as 8,134 fans took in the Pirates' final exhibition game in Florida on Thursday.
The Pirates lost 4-2, but the crowd - the seventh sellout in 12 games in Bradenton - helped establish a new average attendance record of 7,587.
The previous mark of 6,229 was set last year.
"The Pirates are humbled by the support we received this year at McKechnie Field," team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement, "from Pirates fans living in the Bradenton area and the thousands who have visited from Pittsburgh and beyond for an opportunity to watch their baseball team play in the Friendly City.
"The Pirates thank our fans and friends in Bradenton for giving us such a tremendous start to the 2014 season."
The total attendance of 91,046 wasn't enough to break the record of 93,433 set last season. Weather was the culprit - the Pirates lost three home games because of rain. Factor the in the average attendance, and McKechnie Field would have played host to over 110,000 fans had Mother Nature cooperated.
Other records did fall, however. The Pirates' home-opener this spring against the Yankees drew 6,870, a new McKechnie Field standard for the first game of the season.
The annual night game against the Baltimore Orioles was played before a crowd of 8,186, the most to watch a evening spring training game in Bradenton since lights were installed in 2008.
And on March 22 against the Philadelphia Phillies, a total of 8,566 fans passed the through the gates, the biggest crowd in the history of the 91-year-old ballpark that has served as the Pirates' southern home since 1969.
"You see it when we got to Washington, you see it when we got to Baltimore - you even see it during spring training games on the road," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "It's building. We kind of joke here that we're building Buc nation one Buc at a time, but it's starting to happen. And it's fun to watch. They're wearing the colors, they're wearing the gear, and to see the kinds branded up, that's fun to watch."


And now, the end is near...

"Well it's time to say good-bye, my friends, we're glad you stayed until the end..."
It takes a real man to quote White Lion in a sports blog. But that's what I'm here for, right?
The Pirates play their final Grapefruit League game of the year today at McKechnie Field against the New York Yankees. Then they head to Philadelphia for a pair of exhibition games against the Phillies before hosting the Chicago Cubs on Monday for Opening Day.
Today's lineups:
YANKEES
Ichiro Suzuki, cf
Eduardo Nunez, 3b
Mark Teixeira, 1b
Brian McCann, c
Zoilo Almonte, rf
Yangervis Solarte, 2b
Dean Anna, ss
Zelous Wheeler, dh
Adonis Garcia, lf
CC Sabathia, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Jordy Mercer, ss
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Russell Martin, c
Jose Tabata, rf
Josh Harrison, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Tony Sanchez, dh
Stolmy Pimentel, p


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wandy Rodriguez: Power hitter.

So it's 21-3 Pirates here in the seventh.
Yes, 21-3.
The Pirates have banged out 27 hits, though none more memorable than the 2-run home run off the bat of pitcher Wandy Rodriguez in the second.
Rodriguez, who has never homered in over 400 regular-season bats, hit a 3-2 pitch into the fierce jet stream blowing toward right field. The ball landed in the bullpen, where the Pirates pitchers raised their arms in celebration.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, did the same rounding first.
"You know what? A 3-2 count, I know a fastball's coming," said Rodriguez, who allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. "I have good contact with the ball, and the wind helped me, too. I don't have a lot of power, so the wind helped me."
Jose Tabata and Starling Marte also homered for the Pirates, and Matthew Tuiasosopo hit one for Toronto.
All went to right field.