BRADENTON, Fla. — James McDonald pitched two scoreless innings during the Pirates’ 9-2 win against the Braves. He walked one and struck out one.
At times, McDonald was up in the zone, but he said he felt good about making the in-game correction.
With no one on base, McDonald pitched quickly and in rhythm from the windup.
“A lot of times you sit around and slow the pace of the game, it can slow your defenses up back there standing around too long,” McDonald said. “I feel like if I can keep the game going, pitches come a little faster, my guys will be on their toes and ready behind me.”
When runners reached base, though, McDonald held the ball for a long time before pitching. He also used a slide step and threw to first, part of the Pirates’ ongoing effort to control the running game.
“I held a lot today,” he said. “I tried to vary the holds, picked a couple times, threw over a couple times. I think we’re all making a valid effort to control the running game. You see last year, sometimes the running game could get out of hand.”
***Russell Martin stole a base on Julio Teheran when Teheran wasn’t paying attention.
***Clint Barmes hit a two-run home run to left field off Jonny Venters. The homer scored Gaby Sanchez, who had doubled.
“He’s leaner, he’s moving better,” general manager Neal Huntington said of Sanchez before the game.” Ball’s coming off his bat better than when we first saw him last summer when we got him.”
***Jonathan Sanchez issued a hit, a walk, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in two scoreless innings of work.
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